Green Kitchen Standard: A Sustainable Approach To Catering

Apr 25, 2018 · 5 min read
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Sustainability has been a hot topic in the food industry for some time now and this year is no exception. From urban farms, to reducing food waste and increasing transparency in the supply chain, new initiatives are gathering pace and driving positive change to improve efficiencies and tackle global issues.

We spoke with the Soil Association to find out more about their recently launched certification for sustainable catering and how food businesses can make the kitchen leaner and greener.

1. What are the sustainable issues that arise in food service?

The sustainability issues in the food service industry are huge and need urgent attention.

  • 30% of UK CO2 emissions arise from food production and distribution and energy costs make up almost a quarter (22.5%) of overheads for the restaurant and catering industry.

2. The Soil Association recently launched a new certification, the Green Kitchen Standard. Can you tell us a bit more about it and the benefits of achieving the certification?

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Soil Association Certification and Carbon Trust have joined forces to create the Green Kitchen Standard, a new certification which recognises caterers that are taking positive steps to sustainably manage energy, water and waste. It allows caterers to prove their environmental credentials and provide a clear point of difference to set their service apart from the rest.

The Green Kitchen Standard recognises that all catering operations are different, so it has been designed to be flexible and to only assess areas you have control over. Caterers are assessed on a point based system. There are a couple of mandatory standard which caterers must meet and also a variety of optional steps caterers can take to score points, for example:

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The Green Kitchen Standard has a number of key benefits:

  • Be one of the pioneers of the catering world and work with two of the sustainability industry’s biggest authorities.

3. Who can apply for the Green Kitchen Standard?

Caterers from all sectors can apply for the Green Kitchen Standard, from hospitals, schools, universities, workplaces, cafes, restaurants and events catering. The Standard is achievable for new food startups (and can be a very useful tool to design their environmental policies and procedures around). The Standard would also be achievable in a shared kitchen. The certification would be awarded to the individual caterer’s operation within the kitchen (rather than the kitchen as a whole). There is also the possibility of all users of the kitchen working together to achieve the Standard. For example by drafting communal energy, water and waste management policies, delivering training on energy, water and waste to all staff and/or monitoring energy/water/waste for the kitchen as a collective.

4. What changes can be made in the kitchen to improve environmental performance?

Many changes can be made in the kitchen to improve environmental performance. However, the most effective changes and the biggest benefits will be seen with a ‘whole organisation’ approach. The Green Kitchen Standard therefore focuses on 7 key areas: (1) Management and policies, (2) communicating with staff and customers, (3) monitoring resources, (4) setting reduction targets, (5) operational procedures/practices, (6) Staff Training and (7) sustainable procurement.

5. What is the application process for the Green Kitchen Standard?

The application process is as follows:

  • Application form submitted

If your business is looking for support to provide sustainable catering, the Carbon Trust have published some great guidance on ways to cut carbon in food preparation and catering. The WRAP also contains a wealth of useful resources for cutting waste in the hospitality industry.

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