Sustainable Event Buyer’s Guide: Sustainable catering part 2

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Last week, we published an article exploring the impacts event catering can have on the environment. This week, we have delved into events and organisations that are leading by example and transforming their catering to help mitigate climate change.

Having advocated eco-friendly practices for years, family-friendly music festival, Shambala, took the plunge in 2016 to commit to meat- and fish-free catering across the site.

Co-founder, Chris Johnson, described the decision as a “nerve-racking” one: “Fellow festival organisers thought we were bonkers!”

In 2016, 70% of Shambala’s audience had identified as meat- and fish-eaters. However, 50% stated they had drastically changed their diet post-event, 75% of which had sustained that change six months down the line.

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“We have a responsibility as an organisation and as an industry to make responsible decisions and inspire people to think about the decisions they’re making,” Johnson said.

The festival committed to being dairy-free in 2019.

How easy is sustainable catering in the event industry?

Renowned catering company, Boulevard Events, has been feeding the event industry for over three decades. The team there is committed to using locally-sourced suppliers, with 90% being from within a five-mile radius. It says: “We source locally for many reasons but most importantly to maintain our own strict standards on quality and help reduce CO2 emissions.”

Director of sales and marketing, Mark Maher, said, in his experience, more and more organisers are making sustainability a priority. He claimed that communication with your caterers is critical when organising your event.

“Being more sustainable is a constant journey but there are lots of small steps that can be made every day at any event to make things better. Reducing waste can be as simple as making a slight shift in priorities.

“Small changes to the style and presentation of the food can cut waste by 10% or more. This year, we are planning a series of industry dinners to demonstrate just how much impact you can have by making simple adjustments.”

Mark described this as a “trade-off” between the catering’s ‘wow factor’ and its sustainability. Read his Top Tips for Sustainable Catering further on to learn how altering the presentation of food can increase its sustainability.

Opting for more sustainable choices when making decisions about your event’s catering can lower its environmental impact in various ways. Choosing local suppliers lowers the transportation efforts; cutting back on meat offsets the carbon emissions created in the production of it and selecting sustainability over presentation can save considerable amounts of food waste.

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