The Green and Blue Gala

Sustainability in Hospitality: Now is the time to act

On Earth Day, 22nd April 2021, we were delighted to present the Green and Blue Gala: Celebrating Sustainability in Hospitality, alongside our long-term partner Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

The gala aimed to raise awareness of the sustainability challenges facing the hospitality sector and showcase the opportunities to do things differently, at a crucial moment for the industry as Britain’s restaurants and hospitality venues return for outdoor dining.

With celebrity speakers, including chef and author Melissa Hemsley and the BBC’s Rick Edwards, guests also enjoyed a showstopping performance from KT Tunstall and a keynote speech from David Shukman, Science Editor of BBC News, and heard more about the importance of building back greener for Britain’s hospitality businesses.

We were also honoured to welcome the heads of two hospitality businesses who are driving sustainable change. Gavin Adair, CEO of Rosa’s Thai Cafe and Jenny Costa, CEO and Founder of Rubies in the Rubble, shared their experiences and tips for overcoming the challenges their businesses have faced, to help inspire others within the sector to make changes and do good for people, planet and profit. Here are the key takeaways:

Now is the time to act

Despite the hardships of the pandemic, this crisis has given hospitality businesses a chance to think and look forwards to the future to help businesses come back better and stronger.

Jenny Costa explained why now really is the time to embrace sustainable changes: “There is a new customer that is thinking differently and wanting to buy into and support brands that are doing good, beyond just serving good food. Companies that live the test of time are those that have this as their core purpose and at the heart of everything they do.”

Sustainable challenges meet creative solutions

Gavin Adair identified the three key challenges facing Rosa’s Thai Cafe as importing ingredients from Thailand, packaging use and wastage, and consumers demanding strong sustainability credentials, without being willing to pay a premium. To help overcome these challenges the business is focusing on longer lead times within their supply chain so they can ship ingredients rather than airfreight, working directly with local farmers and co-operatives ensuring that benefits are going back into communities, as well as launching a new packaging range that is more easily recyclable to help reduce plastic waste and meet consumer demand.

The pandemic also created new sustainability challenges for Jenny Costa’s sustainable condiments business. Rather than delivering throwaway sachets in home delivery kits, Rubies in the Rubble encouraged consumers to drop the sachet and use what they already had in their cupboards. Jenny’s top tip is to: “embrace creativity and be brave”. She also called on the hospitality industry to think differently about single-use packaging and waste.

Do good for people, planet and profit

As businesses start to find their feet, it’s an exciting time to shout about sustainability and find new ways of doing things. Consumers increasingly want to know that they are consuming in a better way – not only is this good for the planet but it also creates a compelling business case that can help drive customer loyalty.

Adair revealed his approach is to “not preach but communicate and just make sure we are doing the right thing in the belief that in the long-term that will pay dividends”. He also explained that going green can benefit the bottom line, highlighting that “this isn’t just the right thing to do because it’s the right thing to do, it impacts results and business valuations and that leaves us in an exciting place where investor imperative meets consumer demand and employee engagement to super-charge sustainability efforts.”

Ultimately, businesses that are willing to buy into sustainability are showcasing to consumers that they care about quality, the planet and its people. At BRITA, we are delighted to have supported this event to celebrate the potential for a greener model of hospitality and we’re proud of our continued partnership with Whale and Dolphin Conservation to tackle single-use plastic pollution.

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