Sustainable Event Buyer’s Guide: Sustainable catering part 1

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Last summer (2019), 107 scientists for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that the West’s high production and consumption of meat and dairy products are fuelling global warming. The report states that making more plant-based decisions about our meals can help mitigate climate change.

Environmental scientist from Aberdeen University, Professor Pete Smith, commented: “We’re not telling people to stop eating meat. In some cases, people have no other choice. But it’s obvious that in the West, we’re eating far too much.”

Meanwhile, the Catering for the Climate report from the Center for Biological Diversity states simply that “meat-heavy diets threaten the planet”, with food production accounting for up to 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Nearly half of this comes directly from meat and dairy production.

It also states that sustainable catering (for example, plant-based, organic, ethically-sourced, healthy and local where possible) can make a “significant environmental impact.”

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Recently, Lime Venue Portfolio released The Plant Menu chapter of its ongoing Beyond Food report. It claims: “As populations around the world begin to understand the impact their eating habits have on the environment, the decision to cut foods, and food groups, out of their diets is being taken in astonishingly high numbers.”

It also found that the number of vegans in the UK alone has quadrupled between 2014 and 2018. The reason for this appears to be fuelled by motivation to help alleviate the effects of climate change. The report cited a 2018 Oxford University study: “Avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on the Earth.”

Lime Venue Portfolio’s sales director, Jo Austin, told Event Industry News: “The relationship between events, food and the environment has continued to rise up the agenda of many event organisers, and their guests.”

Describing this as a “global movement”, Jo stressed that organisers need to understand why their audiences may prefer sustainable catering and act upon it: “As event planners, organisers and advisors, we are in a strong position to enable change and need to utilise this power to support this ever-changing world.

“Forward-looking caterers aren’t just ‘catering’ to this movement, they are leading it and looking to work with events to educate delegations to understand the ecological cost of food-sourcing.

“This is the modern way of catering to a new, highly informed and ethical audience.”

To read the report in full, download our Sustainable Event Buyer’s Guide for free.