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Green Kitchen Standard serves up sustainable approach to catering

Launching the Green Kitchen Standard

This week, in partnership with the Carbon Trust, we launched a new certification designed to promote sustainable catering.

The Green Kitchen Standard is an award to recognise caterers that sustainably manage energy, water and waste in their operations, helping them to demonstrate a commitment to good environmental management.

The certification requires caterers to engage with the multiple sustainability issues that arise in food service - from broader policies through to day-to-day kitchen management. It provides with a framework for action, taking positive steps to engage with customers, train staff, monitor resources, implement best practice and achieve continuous improvements.

As well as enabling organisations to be recognised for exemplary practice in environmental sustainability, the Standard aligns with the resource efficiency requirements of Defra’s Balanced Scorecard, helping caterers reach a score of ‘Good’ or higher. If combined with the Food for Life Catering Mark, which focuses on food provenance and supply chain, this new scheme is the first and only to provide a one stop shop verification that aligns across all areas of Defra’s Balanced Scorecard.

The Standard has been successfully piloted ahead of the official launch. The first four successful pilots are Carillion Health at Queen Alexander Hospital in Portsmouth, Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Edgehill University.

Amy Johnston Assistant Environmental Officer, Freeman Hospital said; “We saw the Green Kitchen Standard as the logical next step to build on the work already done to achieve the Soil Association Food for Life Catering Mark. The Standard incorporates a variety of different sustainability areas and helped us identify key areas for improvement.

She continued; “In particular, it helped us to focus on how we communicate about energy, water and waste, enabling us to get training for staff on sustainability and how it relates to their work in order to create a truly sustainable culture. The process also provided the opportunity to create closer links between the Catering and Sustainability Teams to create a fully rounded approach to sustainable catering”.

Clare McDermott, Business Development Director of Soil Association Certification said; “This unique scheme supports caterers to not just focus on the quality and sustainable sourcing of the food and ingredients but also on providing those meals with less energy, less waste and less impact on the environment.  Providing caterers with the tools and support to monitor usage, set targets and initiatives around sustainability and reward efficient practices at the kitchen level makes this scheme really effective at developing and leading best practice and improvement across the sector and we are really excited to be awarding our first Pilot organisations.

Dr Peter Bonfield, who originally developed the Balanced Scorecard, commented: “This partnership between Soil Association Certification and the Carbon Trust is an exciting opportunity to inspire businesses and caterers to improve their environmental performance.

Morgan Jones, Associate Director at the Carbon Trust, said; “No organisation wants to waste energy and resources, but we’ve seen again and again that in practice there can be a big gap between intentions and behaviour. That’s why we believe it is so important to have an objective system to track performance and drive improvements, that is independently verified by a third party. We hope that the Green Kitchen Standard will help caterers become more sustainable by recognising and rewarding good environmental management.”

Find out more about the scheme or apply here. 

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