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Green Kitchen Standard and Cranfield University

Our Green Kitchen Standard certification recognises caterers that are making positive steps to sustainably manage their energy, water and waste and going the extra mile to minimise environmental impact. 

We sat down with the recently certified team at Cranfield University to find out more about their organisation and why they are striving to minimalize their environmental impact through their catering operation.

Tell us about your organisation and your role: 

Cranfield University is renowned for its expertise in aerospace, defence, management and environmental sciences. Its environmental commitments are integral to its ethos, evidenced by sustainable initiatives across campus. The university puts a great emphasis on reducing our carbon footprint, conserving water, and managing waste.  Our industrial kitchens, food and drink outlets play a pivotal role in this endeavour, implementing eco-friendly practices like sourcing local produce to minimising transportation emissions, reducing food waste, and utilizing energy-efficient practices.   

Cranfield's holistic approach underscores its dedication to sustainability within its academic and operational framework. 

What was your motivation for gaining the certification? 

Achieving the Green Kitchen Standard isn't just about earning a badge of honour; it's a testament to our commitment to sustainability and responsible stewardship. It's about taking proactive measures to manage our energy, water, and waste in a way that respects our planet and enhances efficiency. By attaining this standard, we gain more than just recognition; we gain trust. Trust from our customers who value eco-conscious practices, trust from regulatory bodies like ISO whose standards we meet and exceed, and trust from ourselves, knowing we're making a tangible difference.  

Working towards the Green Kitchen Standard aligns perfectly with our ambitious environmental targets for 2030. By striving for this standard, we are actively contributing to our goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions. Implementing energy-efficient practices in our kitchens, such as using renewable energy sources and optimizing equipment, helps reduce our carbon footprint. 

Through careful planning, portion control, and composting initiatives, we can significantly minimize our waste output, moving closer to our target of zero avoidable waste. 

Furthermore, the standard's focus on water management supports our aim of reducing water consumption by 50%. Implementing water-saving measures like efficient dishwashing techniques and installing water-saving devices can help us achieve significant reductions in water usage. 

Overall, pursuing the Green Kitchen Standard represents a strategic step forward in our journey towards achieving our environmental targets by 2030. It provides a structured framework and actionable guidelines that enable us to make tangible progress in reducing our environmental impact while enhancing the sustainability of our operations. 

How did you find the certification process?  

The certification process for the Green Kitchen Standard was a journey of learning and collaboration for us. From day one, our dedicated account manager provided invaluable support, guiding us through each step with clear, plain-speaking guidance. While the process required substantial data and evidence, it felt manageable thanks to the collective effort of colleagues from various university departments. 

Working together, we navigated through the requirements, pooling our knowledge and resources to meet the criteria. It was a collaborative effort that brought different perspectives to the table and enriched our understanding of sustainability practices in the kitchen. 

Throughout the process, we all learned a great deal, not only about the certification requirements but also about the importance of sustainable management in our catering operations. It was a rewarding experience that strengthened our commitment to environmental responsibility and equipped us with valuable insights for the future. 

What does it mean to you to have the certification? 

Achieving the Green Kitchen Standard fills us with great pride and satisfaction. It's a validation of our unwavering commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. Knowing that we've met stringent criteria and earned third-party verification for our eco-friendly practices is incredibly gratifying. 

We feel a sense of accomplishment, knowing that our efforts to manage energy, water, and waste in our kitchens have been recognized and acknowledged. It's not just about the accolade itself but about the positive impact we're making on the planet and in our community. 

Having attained this standard, we feel empowered to continue pushing boundaries and setting new benchmarks for sustainability in our industry. It's a testament to our dedication and serves as a catalyst for even greater innovation and progress on our journey towards a greener future. 

If you could pass on a top tip around sustainability to other catering businesses, what would it be? 

A top tip for sustainability in catering businesses is to keep it simple. Overcomplicated, overengineered practices often become burdensome and unsustainable in the long run. Instead, focus on straightforward solutions that are easy to implement and maintain. 

By fostering open dialogue and involving employees at every level, you not only harness the collective wisdom and creativity of your team but also instil a sense of ownership and responsibility towards sustainability initiatives. This inclusive approach ensures that everyone understands the importance of sustainability and actively contributes to driving positive change within your business.