What's it going to take for the catering industry to meet its carbon footprint reduction commitments? Government has challenged us to go green but, unlike in other industries, it's not offering enough help.
At the heart of the issue is the government's Energy Technology List (ETL). Equipment can only be included if it is shown to be energy efficient - and buyers who select ETL equipment qualify for significant financial and tax benefits.
The ETL is the perfect vehicle to help public and private sector procurement achieve a significant carbon footprint reduction. However, the only category of catering equipment on the ETL is refrigeration and adding new categories - warewashing, cooking equipment, and so on - is taking years, despite strong calls for action from CESA and other lobbyists.
We could make major advances in the efficiency of commercial kitchens but we need government involvement. Manufacturers are investing huge resources into developing energy-saving equipment. We need to see incentives for these to be purchased in place of cheap, energy-hungry models that are sold into the food service market. It's a situation that needs addressing if we are to achieve the agreed carbon-saving goals. Until government shows leadership, nothing can happen.
The whole food service industry needs to work together to raise the issue - individuals as well as associations like CESA - by contacting ministers and MPs. Initiatives like the BHA's Adopt an MP campaign will help those in power understand the size and impact of the hospitality industry. We all have to raise our profile if we're to achieve change.
Keith Warren, director, CESA