Eating our way to net zero

Submitted by Amelia O'Hanlon | 08/02/2022

Keith Buet, Chief Operating Officer at Vertas Group Limited, offers some practical steps that businesses can take in contributing to reductions in greenhouse emissions by reducing meat content in their menus.

The importance of sustainability and awareness of climate change has catapulted to the forefront of businesses’ priorities over the years. As the UK races to meet net zero emissions by 2050, businesses must understand the environmental impact of their operations.

A pivotal way for businesses to play their part to address the climate crisis is by reducing meat content in menus to minimise greenhouse emissions. As a national facilities management company, we serve at over 300 schools and commercial sites and are passionate about reducing our carbon footprint. Here’s an insight into our recipe for success:

Introduce a weekly meat-free day

Introducing a weekly meat-free day on your menu can play a part in reducing your greenhouse emissions. For many years, we have offered Meat Free Mondays to our consumers. Removing meat on offer for one day a week means businesses can produce menus that are both healthier and good for the planet.

Local sourcing 

Sourcing local can be beneficial to the environment as it uses fewer food miles and as a result, brings about a reduction in emissions. Local sourcing matters to us; across our operations in East Anglia, we use a number of local suppliers and producers either directly or through our main distributors. We use distributors to reduce our emission impact to avoid unnecessary deliveries from multiple suppliers.

We purchase a range of local products such as eggs from Havensfield, Hoxne, fresh meats from Suffolk and Norfolk via Roofes Catering Butchers in Norwich, and sausages from Taste of Suffolk, in Bury St Edmunds.

Enhance visibility of vegetarian or plant-based dishes

As a company that offers catering services, we play a crucial role in inspiring consumers to eat in a more sustainable way. We enhance the visibility of vegetarian dishes and by doing this, we are encouraging meat alternatives. The reduction of meat served ultimately reduces greenhouse emissions.

These practical steps to reduce emissions are fundamental, but businesses shouldn’t stop there. We are passionate about continuous improvement and have plans to continue to drive down our environmental impact on our journey to net zero by 2030, as part of our Making the Difference Sustainably Strategy.

Only recently, we eliminated the use of single use plastic cutlery where possible. Plastic cutlery has been replaced with wooden knives, forks, spoons and stirrers and reusable stainless-steel teaspoons for primary schools. By making this change we have removed over 1,000,000 plastic items a year, which will have a significant positive impact on the environment.

Sustainability is one of our brand values, and now more than ever our long-term commitment to this has heightened. Sustainability forms part of our everyday operations and we aim to achieve long-term results and generate a positive impact for society and the natural world. We acknowledge the need to ‘make the difference’ in our actions and aspire to achieve the change that is necessary for the planet.

To learn how we can support your business, contact us today.

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