Knowledge for better food systems

One Two We project: addressing the sustainability impacts of out of home consumption

Eating out, in restaurants and canteens is growing in importance in many countries. This raises the need to understand and to put in place measures to address the environmental impacts of this development.

The SV catering group in Switzerland, which manages around about 300 canteens mainly in Switzerland and neighbouring countries has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and supply of their food offering. Up until recently the company focused only on the direct impacts caused by the canteens. It has now extended its analysis and commitments along the whole supply chain since impacts further upstream are about five times greater than the direct operational impacts. Analysis undertaken by ESU Services for SV found that meat products, air-freighted foods and vegetables grown in heated greenhouses dominate environmental impacts. 

Based on this analysis, and working with WWF Switzerland, the SV group launched the “One Two We” campaign which sets out goals for its restaurants focusing on less meat consumption, alternatives to air transported products and alternatives to non-seasonal vegetables.  Individual customers can still choose from a range of meals, but there is greater availability of vegetarian meals, and produce that is seasonal and not air freighted. 

The "One Two We" initiative was awarded the Zurich Climate Prize 2013.

For more information see here.

For other initiatives focusing on sustainable catering see the website of the Sustainable Restaurant Association in the UK – note that the FCRN ran an interview with them a couple of years ago when they were in the early stages of setting up, it can be found here.

If anyone knows of other sustainability-oriented catering initiatives in other countries please can you send through links and summaries? We can then set up a section in the research library for them.  I’d be particularly interested in any studies that actually evaluate the effectiveness of these initiatives either from the point of view of a.measureable changes in practice or, even better, b. measurable impacts on GHG emissions or other environmental impact areas. Send anything to the FCRN here.

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