Sponsored by Franke Coffee Systems
Vacherin says environmental sustainability and CSR is at the heart of its strategy. Now that it has been recognised by its peers with the CSR award for the second time in three years, and during a period of record sales, it's hard to argue.
Taken in isolation, Vacherin's initiatives are effective, but not necessarily groundbreaking.
What is remarkable, however, is the extent to which Vacherin's CSR commitments permeate all aspects of its operation, from responsible sourcing and effective waste management to charity partnerships and staff development.
Waste management is a priority for Vacherin, which last year increased recycling by more than 70% across the business, with 80% of sites featuring food recycling waste streams.
More than five tonnes of used coffee grounds were recycled last year (up more than 300% on 2015-16) while 10,410 litres of rapeseed oil were recycled into biofuel (+55%).
All of Vacherin's City of London sites signed up to the Square Mile Challenge in April 2017, which involved all paper cups going through a separate waste stream to ensure all material was properly recycled. Three clients opted to continue this activity on a permanent basis.
And in July 2016, Vacherin achieved zero to landfill status, which it has since maintained, despite continuing to expand the business. Its L'Imperfect initiative, which involves sourcing fruit and vegetables that do not meet large retailers' cosmetic standards, has also gone from strength to strength. In 2016-17, it sourced more than 3.9 tonnes of wonky fruit and veg - 22% more than the previous year. Vacherin also saved 74 tonnes of carbon through its Meat Free Mondays offer (+3%).
Vacherin sources locally produced food that is grown, processed and delivered in ways that contribute to the local economy, protect the diversity of plants and animals and provide social benefit to the community. This strategy helped the caterer earn a maximum three stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
Community and staff engagement is another key pillar in Vacherin's CSR strategy,
with staff encouraged to support social enterprises with two paid days per year to work for a charity or in their local community. Vacherin employees volunteered more than 260 hours in 2016-17 - 5% up on the previous year.
Vacherin focuses on educating its own people because it understands that its staff and customers are capable of making the biggest collective impact. Instead of creating single projects that don't integrate with its operations, Vacherin trains its team, gets their buy-in to the projects and develops an atmosphere that encourages creativity and a passion for CSR.
What the judges said
"Vacherin has a proven record of objectives and milestones being reached. The company was miles apart from the other submissions."
Kimberley Aplin, Sodexo
"The difference Vacherin makes to our world is huge."
Kate Martin, Brookwood Partnership
"Vacherin demonstrated the most integrated CSR scheme. It is part of how it does business."
Judy Roberts, CH&Co Group
"Vacherin must be commended for the level to which CSR is embedded in the business."
Mike Hanson, WSH
2016 Bartlett Mitchell
2014 Compass Group UK & Ireland
2013 Sodexo UK & Ireland