Hotelympia is hosting a wide selection of seminars at London's ExCel from 17 to 21 February, including the new Sustainable Futures Seminar programme. The seminars will examine the impact of sustainability on food service and hospitality and will focus on key issues such as food miles, ethical sourcing, carbon footprints and climate change.
"As the key industry show in 2008 we felt it was important we gave our visitors the chance to engage in debate and learn more about the key issues of the day, and there's no bigger issue than that of sustainability," says exhibition director Toby Wand, explaining the choice of focus for this year's seminar programme.
"In our view there are a lot of people out there who operate sustainably but just don't shout about it. Hotelympia is a great example of that. We recycle all the carpet used over the five days and ExCel has introduced an environmental waste programme which gives foodstuffs to charity rather than simply throwing them in the rubbish. My belief is that it's the same scenario for many hotels and restaurants."
Kicking off the five-day seminar programme is Catering Equipment Suppliers' Association (CESA) chairman Andrew Jones, who will be discussing sustainability in relation to purchasing and supplying equipment. As director Keith Warren explains, sustainability is a key focus for the association.
"We're very aware of the need to satisfy demand for sustainable equipment in commercial kitchens," he says. "EU and UK legislation will soon be looking to regulate on energy consumption in order to reduce carbon emissions as well as Europe's dependence on importing gas and oil. We all have a part to play in this and as an industry CESA and its members will continue to work with specifiers and purchasers to ensure that sustainability issues are discussed constructively."
Warren believes the Sustainable Futures Theatre at Hotelympia provides the ideal opportunity for this. "Given the long service that commercial kitchen equipment will deliver, choosing the right equipment will give long-term savings, making it as good for the planet as it is for your pocket," he says.
In his seminar, Roger Miller, commercial manager of the environmental services company Veolia, will be discussing the implications of the WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) directive. Miller will examine the two key objectives of the ruling and show how producers can ensure that the number of reusable items thrown away is reduced.
Meanwhile, Susan Gregory, category marketing director at Unilever Foodsolutions, will talk about the challenges large global companies face to become more sustainable in her seminar Sustainable Futures - Making the Difference. She will highlight how working in partnership with third parties, such as the Rainforest Alliance, can help companies achieve their sustainability goals. Citing the Kericho tea estate in Kenya as a case study, Gregory will illustrate how Unilever Foodsolutions' initiatives not only benefit the environment but also the health, wealth and wellbeing of the tea growers.
The seminar Greener Food/Better Business will highlight Project Green Food, a free package offering environmental support for the hospitality business in the capital. Charlotte Jarman, project officer from London Food Link, and Janice Ansine, project co-ordinator from London Sustainability Exchange, will focus on food, waste, energy and water. They will look at the importance of using sustainable ingredients and opportunities for caterers to use sustainable produce in their businesses. The pair will also examine how businesses can improve their track record on recycling, composting and use of products made with recycled materials, and will advise on how to reduce energy and water use on a day-to-day basis.
ACM Waste Management chairman Barry Bolton will observe the link between waste and climate change in his lecture Waste Management - Delivering Cost Savings. Using one of the company's hotel customers as a case study, he will demonstrate how improved environmental performance can benefit businesses. This theme will also be taken up by BaxterStorey chief executive Alastair Storey in his seminar, which will discuss the positive impact of sustainability on business growth and look at how sustainability can provide businesses with a competitive advantage.
Another speaker who will be looking at how organisations can deliver a competitive advantage through sustainability - this time through sustainable procurement - is Shaun McCarthy, chairman of the London 2012 Sustainability Commission and director of Action Sustainability. In his seminar looking at the principles of sustainable procurement, McCarthy will argue that companies need to have board-level leadership to recognise and tackle the key risk areas in their business. He will also talk about environmental limits and define sustainability and sustainable procurement.
And brushing off her crystal ball to examine what the Future for Sustainable Hospitality holds will be Dr Rebecca Hawkins, a research and consultancy fellow at Oxford Brookes University. She will study the role of sustainability in the hospitality industry and explore three drivers for sustainability: legislation, business and operational savings. She will also look at the way energy certification influences the physical design of a building, how B2B buyers are becoming more aware of their corporate social responsibility and how effective use of equipment can still result in significant savings in the face of rising energy costs.
Look into the future… London's Moshi Moshi restaurant has already seen the benefits of the Greener Food Menu (led by London Sustainability Exchange). Managing director Caroline Bennett says the initiative has helped them "know the questions to ask". See the seminar on 18 February at Hotelympia for more details
Running alongside the seminars are a series of panel discussions, each comprising four speakers. These are designed to offer an unbiased view of the environment, the responsibilities of business owners and current trends. Speakers will offer their opinions on sustainability, cost, growth and marketing.
Seasonality and local produce will be the theme of the panel discussion led by Patrick Harbour, proprietor of boutique contract caterer Harbour & Jones. Entitled Sustainable Procurement - a Look at Seasonality, the debate will examine the reasons for, and the implications of, using local and seasonal produce, and offer advice on how to achieve the best prices. Harbour also intends to turn the seminar theatre into a mini street-market and will invite suppliers so that visitors can taste the difference between products for themselves.
Best Western GB chief executive David Clarke, who will head up the panel debate entitled Engaging in Corporate Hospitality, will address the challenge of engaging clients and suppliers in corporate sustainability as well as how to best market the issue.
And Philippe Rossiter, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality, will lead a debate on the effects of climate change. The debate will examine how the media has oversold the issue of climate change to the industry and how businesses can make minor changes to their operations to help in reducing their carbon footprint.
Where and how to attend seminars
The Sustainable Futures Seminars will be held in the Sustainable Futures Theatre in the North Hall. Exhibition visitors should arrive 10 to 15 minutes ahead of the seminar start time and entrance will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Each seminar will last about 45 minutes.
The Sustainable Futures Seminar Programme
12.00-13.00 Purchasing/Supplying Equipment
Andrew Jones, chairman, CESA
13.00-14.30 Panel debate: Waste and Recycling
14.45-15.30 Catering equipment
Tim Bender, UK product development manager, Hobart
11.00-noon The Use of RFIs, e-tenders and e-auctions
12.00-13.00 WEEE - from a Waste to a Resource
Roger Miller, commercial manager, Veolia
13.00-14.30 Panel debate: Sustainable Procurement
Diana Spellman and Patrick Harbour, Harbour & Jones, Partners in Purchasing
14.45-15.30 Sustainable Futures - Making the Difference
Susan Gregory, category marketing director, Unilever Bestfoods
15.30-16.30 Greener Food/Better Business
Charlotte Jarman and Janice Ansine
11.00-12.00 Waste Management - Delivering Cost Savings
Barry Bolton, ACM Waste Management
12.00-13.00 Sustainability - Competitive Advantage
Alastair Storey, BaxterStorey
13.00-14.30 Panel debate: Engaging in Corporate Hospitality
David Clarke, chief executive, Best Western Hotels
14.45-15.30 Sustainability in Practice
15.30-16.30 Legislation - the Facts
11.00-12.00 Principles of Sustainable Procurement
Shaun McCarthy, Action Sustainability
12.00-13.00 Water Management
13.00-14.30 Panel debate: The Effects of Climate Change
Philippe Rossiter, chief executive, IoH
14.45-15.30 The Future for Sustainable Hospitality
Rebecca Hawkins, research and consultancy fellow, Oxford Brookes University
15.30-16.30 Marks & Spencer
Simon Lushey, Enodis/Merrychef
11.00-12.00 Catering for a Sustainable Future
13.00-14.30 Panel debate: Sustainable Tourism