A new certification designed to promote sustainable catering has been launched by the Soil Association and the Carbon Trust.
The Green Kitchen Standard recognises caterers that sustainably manage energy, water and waste in their operations, helping them to demonstrate a commitment to good environmental management.
The certification requires caterers to engage with the multiple sustainability issues that arise in food service – from broader policies through to day-to-day kitchen management. It provides a framework for action around taking positive steps to engage with customers, train staff, monitor resources, implement best practice and achieve continuous improvements.
As well as enabling organisations to be recognised for exemplary practice in environmental sustainability, the standard aligns with the resource efficiency requirements of Defra’s Balanced Scorecard, helping caterers reach a score of ‘Good’ or higher. If combined with the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark, which focuses on food provenance and supply chain, this new scheme is the first and only to provide a one stop shop verification that aligns across all areas of Defra’s Balanced Scorecard.
“This unique scheme supports caterers to not just focus on the quality and sustainable sourcing of the food and ingredients but also on providing those meals with less energy, less waste and less impact on the environment,” adds Clare McDermott, business development director of Soil Association Certification.
“No organisation wants to waste energy and resources, but we’ve seen again and again that in practice there can be a big gap between intentions and behaviour. That’s why we believe it is so important to have an objective system to track performance and drive improvements, that is independently verified by a third party,” adds Morgan Jones, associate director at the Carbon Trust. “We hope that the Green Kitchen Standard will help caterers become more sustainable by recognising and rewarding good environmental management,”
The standard has been successfully piloted by Carillion Health at Queen Alexander Hospital in Portsmouth, Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Edgehill University.
“We saw the Green Kitchen Standard as the logical next step to build on the work already done to achieve the Food for Life Catering Mark,” says Amy Johnston, assistant environmental officer, Freeman Hospital. “The standard incorporates a variety of different sustainability areas and helped us identify key areas for improvement. In particular, it helped us to focus on how we communicate about energy, water and waste, enabling us to get training for staff on sustainability and how it relates to their work in order to create a truly sustainable culture. The process also provided the opportunity to create closer links between the catering and sustainability teams to create a fully rounded approach to sustainable catering.”