Food Made Good — for the Planet
by Thomas Gomersall
Our global food system is one of the biggest drivers of the climate and ecological crisis, threatening to destabilise itself through resource depletion and climate change-induced supply chain disruptions. In Hong Kong — which imports 90 per cent of its food and consumes large quantities of seafood and rainforest-destroying beef — food is the biggest contributor to our local Ecological Footprint.
Addressing this adequately will take radical changes to the food industry, requiring chefs, restaurants, hotels and other major players to actively practice and promote sustainability. Happily, in the past year alone, 50 such players in Hong Kong have become members of the sustainability consultant, Food Made Good HK, to help make their practices more environmentally friendly and socially responsible.
On 25 November, the first award ceremony dedicated to sustainable food service was held by Food Made Good HK to recognise and reward their proactive action. The winners all demonstrated strong commitment to sustainability and ethicality — including reducing waste, increasing plant consumption over meat and prioritising locally and seasonally available ingredients — which was reflected in the awards they received, the most prestigious of which were the Food Made Good Members Awards.
This award is for the business that scores consistently high in offering a range of local and seasonal produce, including high-welfare meat, sustainable fish and ethically sourced products.
Bangkok-based restaurant Haoma wins for having its own hydroponics and aquaponics systems that recycle food waste and rainwater to fertilise and water crops. They only use ingredients with full traceability, sourcing many from their own organic farm or even the restaurant grounds.
For the business that demonstrates exceptional support to their staff, customers and community as well as true social responsibility.
Sohofama wins for allowing like-minded artists, farmers and exhibitors to use their restaurant to display and sell their products and promote healthy living without charging them for rental space. They also strive to use organic and locally and seasonally available produce.
For the business that has effectively implemented a range of effective practices across all environmental areas, including valuing natural resources and waste management.
Amber have shown great innovation and drive in waste reduction, like making art out of old shells and planning to eliminate all single-use plastics by the end of 2020.
“Over the past 15 years, we’ve taken a much more profound direction [towards sustainability], particularly in the way we handle and reduce waste. This award is a big encouragement for me and the team to work harder on being a responsible operator,” says Chef Richard Ekkebus.
Food Made Good Business of the Year Award:
Awarded to the Food Made Good member that has served as a leading example of holistic implementation of sustainability practices in their business.
SpiceBox Organics wins for sourcing healthy, high-quality, organic products — such as plant-based proteins and cage-free eggs – from environmentally responsible and (preferably) local sources. It aims to boost its sustainability credentials further by using more sustainable packaging and continuous monitoring of their food waste.
Hopefully, these winning restaurants will be the first of many more to change their practices and transform Hong Kong’s food industry into one that is far more sustainable.
According to Heidi Yu Spurrell, Founder and CEO of Food Made Good HK, the ongoing pandemic has highlighted the vulnerabilities of today’s food supply chains. “We can build revenue from healthier and more sustainable food,” says Ms Yu Spurrell. “We can innovate around how we use our resources. And we can reduce the environmental impact of our menus and nudge our customers towards more sustainable choices.”