Catering to the greener stomachs of the event industry

By Ellie Ashton-Melia

Sustainability – Where to start? 

One of the biggest challenges faced by event businesses big and small is trying to translate good intentions into transformative actions. Businesses are starting to make Net Zero and Circular Economy commitments to achieve global ambitions of keeping the planet within a 1.5-degree threshold. This stands true for food businesses too from changing how we approach food sourcing and surplus, down to service and packaging. There’s a whole host of ideas for taking action, often it’s knowing where to start. One thing that can be said is everybody has to start somewhere, here’s how.  

proseed – the universal best practise framework for sustainable event delivery 

Designed with the whole supply chain in mind to standardise how the event  industry approaches sustainability, proseed makes it easier to deliver meaningful change across the sector. Brought to you by isla, this free, accessible and practical resource was developed with contribution from the SRA to provide practical solutions to shared sustainability challenges. Caterers and foodservice businesses operating in the event space can use the framework to benchmark operational practices and demonstrate to clients exactly how they are practising sustainability.

The 3 P’s – Policies, plans, practises.  

Just like food health & safety or a hygiene certificate, your business should have a Sustainable Catering Event Plan to show the direct actions you intend to take to reduce and measure the environmental impact of your activities to support your sustainability policy. It’s a three-way street; caterers, venues and planners should work collaboratively to develop a plan to tackle the impact of the meals served to delegates.   

If you don’t have an Environmental Sustainability Policy, write one. It will help to define and set out your sustainability ambitions for your organisation to transition to Net Zero, Circular Economy. Remember this can be shared with your clients too which could help you during catering procurement and win business. 

Mindful menu design   

One of isla’s early adopters Goose Live Events has achieved its first 25-mile menu. With some creative thinking and partnering with local caterers, they’ve sourced only the freshest ingredients within 25 miles of the event location. Celebrating the very best seasonal produce they’ve cleverly reduced their food miles and emissions, whilst championing local ingredients and businesses. We all like to know where our food has come from and it’s these narratives that can be shared with delegates to create a more memorable experience.     

More than just a meal    

All food service businesses have a role to play in prioritising energy use more efficiently. Electricity and heating account for 30% of global emissions. That’s our kitchens, restaurants, home offices and warehouses all generating emissions to power our day-to-day business activities. Start to track and measure your energy use and use this data to implement company-wide energy reduction targets. Document this in an environmental and energy policy that can be shared with your clients to show your commitment to reducing their scope 3 emissions if they want to achieve Net Zero Carbon 

Why not make the switch? Converting to renewable power can help you save money and the planet. If you’re interested in swapping your business energy, isla members benefit from our partnership with Big Clean Switch. Find out more about becoming an isla member.  

Do more for less 

If you want to know about the first universal framework that simplifies sustainability and find solutions for event hospitality, check out As an SRA member, you can receive a 15% discount on all policy and plan templates – contact [email protected] to get your code. 

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