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Expert Insight WASTE. Probably the biggest issue of all.


It’s simply not sustainable for the 11 billion animals on the planet to eat other animals. But what does this mean for a food business that serves meat? And what if your offering is purely meat based, like a steakhouse? Fortunately/unfortunately it means you need to pivot your business model. Although it might feel like your offering is well supported now, it will become increasingly regarded as unethical in the future.


I am not lecturing here, but don’t count on people wanting to continue eating meat in the future like they do now. So now is the time to explore plant- based options that suit your brand and develop new products that have a lesser carbon impact. Stem & Glory is working on a pilot project with a new business that does carbon labelling for menu items. It may take a while for this to take on, but we predict this will be in huge demand in the future by consumers.


USING RENEWABLE ENERGY


In pursuit of renewable energy, hospitality businesses can make a huge impact by simply moving to renewable only energy sources. There are a number of these now, including the most established Ecotricity and Green Energy. But we can go one step further. Who are your investors? What are their green credentials? Do they invest in fossil fuels? Who are your partners? Who are your landlords? Scrutinise everything. Ask the questions. Take every opportunity you can to bring attention to this.


EDUCATION Consider donating a small part of your income or profit. Attenborough states that to achieve the eradication of poverty, education, particularly of women, plays a huge part. Camfed, a charity directly impacting the education of women is one such example of an organisation working towards this aim.


Food Waste More than one third of all food produced is wasted. And with regard to fruit and vegetables, it is almost half. In the developing world this waste is largely down to inefficient processing, poor storage, and insufficient infrastructure. In medium and high-income countries, whilst supply chains can still be an issue, the behaviour of consumers plays a much greater part. We are simply buying it and not eating it. Much of this food waste could be avoided if it were managed better. The hard fact is, if we managed to reduce the amount of food waste down by just 25%, that would be enough food to feed the 870 million who currently do not have enough to eat.


Packaging Waste There is a huge amount of misinformation out there on this subject, especially with regards to single use. I watched a short film recently, called ‘Our Planet, Our Business’, and one of the experts said, ‘there is no such thing as waste, it’s just a commodity in the wrong place at the wrong time’. That really struck me. Packaging is a complicated subject that we've been immersed in researching for some time, and here is what we have learned:


The only truly sustainable, circular solution for packaging is to use products that are made from 100% recycled post-consumer waste, which are then endlessly recycled. So, we are no longer using single use anything.


Compostable is not the answer to the issue of single use, as compostable containers are widely made from virgin materials, which increase the carbon footprint of the product, and do nothing to solve the issue of mass disposability.


When the world is truly plastic-free, then it may be that recycled packaging which is also compostable could play a part. But, whilst we have such huge amounts of post-consumer plastic waste, the most responsible thing we can do is recycle it. If demand for 100%


recycled plastic were greater, demand would also increase for manufacturers to buy post-consumer waste plastic. And so it goes on.


Of course, responsible use of recycled


plastic products requires education, and we need to invest energy into just that. It's a big step for us all to make in our heads because plastic has been vilified for so long, but research shows it's moving away from single use anything that has the greatest carbon impact. The leap we all need to make is to start viewing plastic (and everything else on this planet) as a valuable commodity.


OTHER WASTE At Stem & Glory, we are currently fitting out a new site in Cambridge. The driver behind our decor is reuse and recycle as far as possible. It’s been great to see that there are so many new products on the market that are composed of recycled post-consumer waste. We predict that this will explode massively in the coming months and years. From table-tops to worktops, paint, flooring, concrete, lights, innovation is everywhere. And it looks completely fab! As part of this process we have also been able to get our entire team on board - from designers to contractors, all are now also committed to the reuse and recycle way of living.


This is possibly the best way we can help tackle climate change. Never underestimate the contribution that an individual or individual business can play. By changing ourselves we generate spirals of positive influence – the R number of sustainability! The more you make changes and tell others, the more people you will influence for good.


STEMANDGLORY.UK


www.venue-insight.com


November 2020


23


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