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Chartwells reinforces commitment to net zero journey through recipe reformulation

27th Sep 2023 - 07:00
Sustainable food
Education catering company Chartwells has provided an update on the implementation of its Climate Action Plan as part of the business’ ongoing commitment to carbon reduction.

The plan has three key areas of focus: menus & recipe reformulation, education and food waste – all of which demonstrate Chartwells’ ambition to act as an agent of sustainable change across the education sector.

Chartwells aims to serve healthy and sustainable menus that prioritise taste, nutrition and affordability. Working in partnership with UK tech company Foodsteps, the caterer is targeting the reformulation of 90,000+ recipes to accelerate the decarbonisation of the 61m meals it serves to over 2,000 schools every year.

An initial analysis of Chartwells’ Spring/Summer menu calculated that 43% of the menu within the state primary school business is defined as ‘very low’ impact, under Foodsteps’ carbon footprinting banding. In its secondary business, 38% of Chartwells’ menu is ‘very low’ impact, using the same methodology.

Charles Brown, managing director of Chartwells, said: “We fully support the wider commitment of Compass UK & Ireland to achieve climate net zero by 2030 and have been working hard to implement plans that will reduce the carbon footprint of our business. As education caterers, I believe we also bear a further responsibility to educate and set a great example for the leaders of tomorrow – the children our frontline teams proudly serve every day.

“While we are proud about the progress we have made to date, we are poignantly aware of the challenges that lay ahead, as we look to drive sustainable change while also navigating the industry headwinds all operators are facing into.

“This is not something that we can achieve by working on our own. To achieve real change, we need to work alongside our clients, suppliers, the wider industry, as well as other key stakeholders in the education space. We recently launched a sustainability report to stimulate a discussion within the market, and we will continue to act as a vehicle for change within the sector.”

The Beyond the Chartwells Kitchen programme highlights the company’s ongoing commitment to educating future generations. In the 2022/2023 academic year, the team educated almost 18,000 pupils on sustainability, through more than 250 sustainability themed workshops.

Celebrating World Bee Day in May, Chartwells raised awareness for the decline in bumblebee populations throughout primary schools and saw a 32% increase in knowledge from the Beyond the Kitchen programme sessions. Chartwells’ ambition is to educate over one million children on sustainability through workshops and engagement plans by 2030.

The team at Chartwells is committed to tracking food waste and is working towards reducing food waste by 50% by 2030. As part of Chartwells’ food waste prevention, chefs are constantly innovating to create dishes with minimal waste and are encouraged to use all parts of the ingredient where possible.

Written by
Edward Waddell