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New sustainable catering scheme

The Soil Association and the Carbon Trust have 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 scheme provides a framework for action, including how to engage with customers, train staff, monitor resources and implement best practice.

Four pilots have already proved successful. Morgan Jones, associate director at the Carbon Trust, said the initiative will help plug the “big gap between intentions and behaviour”.

Research by consultants at Ricardo in 2013 showed that energy use by contract caterers could be cut by 32%, saving the industry £90m a year – or about 5.7p per meal. Carbon emissions would also fall by 425,000 tonnes (about 33%).

The Soil Association’s new standard aligns with the resource efficiency requirements of Defra’s “Balanced Scorecard”, helping caterers reach a score of “good” or higher. It can also be used alongside the Food for Life Catering Mark, which focuses on food provenance and supply chain.