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page 28 winter 2010 Business Footprint 17News focusWith an aging population, vast amounts of edible retail food products going to landfill and a sharp increase in obesity rates-through higher individual food consumption of processed foods, (with all of their resulting health issues), it is no wonder that food security in the UK represents a very real long term threat to the stability of our economy. When going out to client meetings, business presentations or even networking events, where catering may be provided, it is worth giving a thought to the quality, freshness and seasonality of the produce and in particular where it is sourced.You may at some stage have organised business catering for many times have you thrown away a turned up sandwich, juggled with limp quiche or even worse not bothered to try anything from the uninviting selections thrown together in front of you? Is price the only consideration or do you weigh up other critical factors in making sure that your clients, guests or colleagues feel replete and satisfied at the end of what is normally a busy working lunch period so how do you know what you are going to receive is going to be any good? Given the demands for greater transparency and environmental responsibilities to reducing waste and the carbon foot print, how do you know that the company supplying you will have the right approach to social, corporate and community responsibilities? If you or one of your colleagues is responsible for the purchasing of catering services delivered to your workplace or you want to influence the decision making process with the client catering that you are experiencing, then here are a few things to consider that will not only help the event go smoothly, but ensure that you have total peace of mind.Policies & Procedures:Does the supplier publish and make available their working practices, do they actively promote healthier eating and work with local partners to reduce food miles. Do they have robust recycling schemes and a commitment to reducing waste to landfill?Health & SafetyIs your supplier HACCP accredited or registered with the local EHO, do they follow stringent health & safety procedures e.g. does your food arrive in sign-written refrigerated vehicles? Are the drivers knowledgeable about the company and it's products, are they proud to wear a company logo? Have you inspected their premises to ensure that foods are produced within a safe hygienic environment and prepared by qualified chefs who care about what they do?Ease of OrderingHow easy is it to place your order, is the phone or fax always busy, can you order directly on line for example? Is the service provided, friendly, polite and efficient, do you receive confirmation that your requirements can be met and are you always offered flexibility and choice? Quality, Presentation & Value for MoneyAre the foods delivered freshly made and prepared from real ingredients and not the normal selection frozen and fried products purchased from large national wholesalers? Does the food arrive properly presented and wrapped, with clear labelling and information about contents? If ordering on a regular basis are you offered variety and can you mix and match from the available menus.When choosing a new catering supplier-make sure you:ÎÎInspect premisesÎÎMeet staff and management teams... do they understand you and your business needsÎÎAsk to look at health and safety manuals and certificatesÎÎMake sure they have an environmental policy and are acting upon itÎÎTry samples and ask for evidence of credentialsÎÎAsk for references and recommendationsÎÎEnsure that the caterer is flexible ÎÎSet up a trading accountÎÎEnjoy the food!ÎÎGive FeedbackIt appears that changes on the world stage and specifically those that are making us look at the social and more traditional values around the food that we eat are returning us to a simpler view on fresh ingredients, healthier eating, and more consideration for where our produce comes from and where it ends up.For more information on please visit the environment section of our website at, alternatively you can call us on 01707331751. Food waste... not just a load of rubbish

18 Business Footprint winter 2010 ENVironmental Impactcosts so much. I mean it's more than doubled in the last five years, and before the downturn, prices were even higher."Again my client's correct. Before the world downturn the limitations of supply were apparent. Energy is a finite resource. Worldwide demand increased, prices spiralled, and oil prices rose to $145 a barrel, with electricity rising to 9.0 per KW/h wholesale.The quest to find energy reserves gets harder. The environment it's sourced from, more hostile. The costs to recover therefore get higher and the demands on the technology being used is stretched, hence the problems over a mile below the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico.With the emerging markets gradually coming out from recession, demand from these nations will ultimately increase. India is home to about 15% of the world population and China 25%. Energy costs in the short term are only going to go one way, and that's before the scheduled 2.5% increase in VAT in January.My client isn't alone in his initial beliefs. Most businesses consider that energy is simply an overhead, one that has to be absorbed, one that impacts the bottom line, and is way outside their core business. However the truth is that energy is a manageable resource.The example I always give is that most SME's appoint the services of an accountant. They 'buy in' this Glen Baynes of 1st Class Energy illuminates the bottom line "Part of the problem," he said, "is that you just can't see it.""Pardon?" I said." just can't see it. It's not like the waste from the office. I can see that: see when there is a lot of it; see it's a problem; see when we have cut down; see when something needs to be done about it, see?" My client is right of course. He can't physically see carbon but, as I explained: "What about when you see your energy bills?""I just look at the bottom line," he paused, "and curse. I cant understand why it all It's not the waste you can se, it's the waste you can't se...expertise as it is outside their core business activities and considered a specialism. He (or she) is then expected to deliver:ÎÎGood clear, precise advice tailored around the businessÎÎthat the business stays legally compliantÎÎfinancial advice on taxation, grants and loansÎÎsound advice that saves the business moneyAnd it is exactly these same reasons that businesses should engage a good energy practice. You will find that with clear and effective energy management strategy in place an organisation can quantify savings, reduce risk and make a real difference to their bottom line. So, what are you waiting for? Your next energy bill?"The quest to find energy reserves gets harder. The environment it's sourced from, more hostile. The costs to recover therefore get higher and the demands on the technology being used is stretched, hence the problems over a mile below the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico."1st Class Energy Ltd W E T 01582 793525