AUTHOR: TOM TANNER
There was some noticeable cynicism in response to the Prime Minister’s recent announcement that the UK would become the first of the G7 nations to commit to net zero carbon emissions, saying that without other nations following suit it would be a futile exercise. A more pertinent criticism may have been the continued media focus on energy and transport systems as the main driver of climate change, while it’s clear that by some measure the food system has by far the biggest impact, accounting for over 50% of anthropogenic climate impact.
Chefs and restaurants around the world have a responsibility to do what they can to manage not only their climate impact but also an array of other sustainability issues. More excitingly, the sector also has a huge role to play in shifting food culture, influencing what we eat, how we eat and how much we waste.
Nine years ago sustainability specialists and restaurateurs Giles Gibbons, Simon Heppner and Mark Sainsbury teamed up to help them fulfil this role. Recognising that many in the industry wanted to act but needed a framework and support system to do so, they established the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
Almost a decade on and with the environmental imperative becoming ever more urgent, the time feels right to take what’s recognised as the world’s most established and successful membership programme for delivering positive change across the food sector and make it available to international partners under licence.
That’s why Simon Heppner and Andrew Stephen were in Singapore this week, completing the judging for the World’s 50 Best Sustainable Restaurant Award and launching Food Made Good Global. Food Made Good global will promote the successful UK programme, making the technology, tools and knowhow available to any country, city or state that wants to replicate the model.
At a gathering of like-minded industry professionals from across the world at Native in Singapore, one of Asia’s most sustainable bars, Simon said: : “There is growing awareness that the decisions we make about the food we eat have an enormous impact; on ourselves, on society and on the planet. Nobody wants to leave their principles at the door when they eat out and chefs are in a unique position to help us use the power of our appetites wisely and make better decisions.”
He went to on reveal targets which, while sounding ambitious, are essential if we are to fix food and with it, climate change.
“Food Made Good has been proven to galvanise and coordinate action to realise this potential. Our five-year goal is for our global network to influence the sustainability of 10 billion meals eaten out of home every year, making a huge contribution towards a better food system.”
Four territories are already on a pathway towards establishing a thriving sustainable food movement based on practical, business-focused principles, Japan, Benelux, Greece and Hong Kong. This quartet will look to build a thriving membership of operators using Food Made Good’s successful recipe, built on four key ingredients:
Defining sustainability with its established issue framework
Inspiring action with a full programme of events and campaigns as well as an extensive library of resource and information, and a community, both on and off-line, of like-minded industry professionals and businesses inspiring each other to take action
Assessing performance with an industry standard sustainability rating
Rewarding success with its Michelin Stars of Sustainability and annual Food Made Good Awards.
This concerted global push doesn’t come out of the blue. The Food Made Good works with the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, judging the Sustainable Restaurant Award and is the official sustainability partner to the S.Pelligrino Young Chefs Social Responsibility Award. We also helped develop the Chefs Manifesto for the UN SDG2 Hub.
Harnessing the combined progressive actions of the diverse foodservice sector in the UK is the most effective way of achieving real impact. Bringing together businesses worldwide will ensure that positive change can be achieved even further and faster. We’ll be sure to keep you posted of the further progress of Food Made Good globally and please get in touch if you have any ideas for locations where you could help get a programme started.
To see our global collaborations and work so far, take a look at our new site!