Sustainability trends for 2020
Following the election result, the impending execution of Brexit will likely lead to a big shake-up of how suppliers and supply chains operate. From a sustainability perspective, it will hopefully encourage more local and seasonal produce to be sourced across the country, enhancing local trade and mitigating the prospect of shortages going forward. This will also force procurement teams to drill down on point of origin, and with price being a key factor and driver, local seasonal produce should be the cheaper option when factoring in transportation costs.
Reducing food waste will be a key driver for 2020, prompting a need for clever buying habits within organisations, especially if there are going to be price increases on goods from Europe as a consequence of Brexit. Food waste is a massive haemorrhage of profit out of any business, with the majority unaware of the extent of money lost through unused food each day. By signing up to the newly launched Guardians of Grub, a very user-friendly tool to benchmark waste and increase profit margins by implementing tighter controls, this could offset any product cost increase due to Brexit. This offers a great implementable example of how being sustainable can save you money and be good for the planet.
The hot topic of reducing single-use plastic will continue in to 2020. Through my role as sustainability ambassador for the Meetings Industry Association and chairing its #20PercentLess campaign, we’ve been educating and championing best practice while encouraging the sector to commit to eliminating single-use plastic usage by a minimum of 20% each year for the next five years. As many organisations have already executed the quick wins, the pressure will now turn on to suppliers to scrutinise packaging across the supply sector. This will likely be a direct result of pressure from consumers and with the large supermarkets being forced to act, this will filter across all suppliers, as organisations finally see that their buying power can drive change. The more businesses work together to refuse unnecessarily shrink-wrapped supplies, the more suppliers will be forced to reassess their own processes. This year at 15Hatfields, we have looked closely at 12 supply lines and produced case studies to highlight and demonstrate that there are suppliers and solutions to move away from unsustainable packaging.
A rapid increase in transparency into the effectiveness of biodegradable product lines will ensure that our alternatives to single-use plastic are not equally as harmful to the environment. I predict a drive in 2020 to provide businesses with more accurate guidance to choose compostable or biodegradable products.
We were the first UK venue to offer a dedicated Daily Vegan Rate in April 2019. Over the next 12 months vegetarian and vegan ratios on buffet and set lunch menus will increase, as we see a huge uptake in demand for full Daily Vegan Rates, wellbeing and overall health. With the environmental spotlight falling on burning rainforests and deforestation for increased meat and farming production, the wider delegate audiences are choosing veggie and vegan options, particularly at lunch time for a lighter meal. At 15Hatfields, we have already increased our ratios up to 60% veggie and vegan, 20 % certified sustainable fish and 20% red tractor farm-assured meat.
Corporate social responsibility is still gaining traction in the industry with more national agencies requesting sustainable venues. We have seen an encouraging increase in demand and requests, for example, being asked by clients to refer other sustainability-led venues in the area when we’re unable to accommodate business.