Food & Beverages
Think sustainable when choosing food and drinks
How high are your ambitions?
To support your efforts in working with food and beverages, we have put together a list of key actions you can take. Consider these a starting point. A guide, and not a final checklist. It is meant to get you started on building your own list of actions and help you meet your sustainability ambitions.
If you have high ambitions in Food & Beverages you can commit to the following:
- The menu or servings must be fully plant-based.
- The menu or servings must be sourced sustainably, locally and organically with season-based ingredients.
- Use suppliers with a clear sustainability strategy and if possible with a 3rd party sustainability certification and a sustainability management system and embedded in supplier contract.
- The event must implement a zero-food-waste policy, possibly including a donation of leftover food.
- The event must communicate the carbon footprint of the meals (i.e. facts and figures on menus if possible).
- Participants must bring a personal water bottle -- for tap water refill when possible.
- Use reusable cups, plates or other tableware. No single-use plastic or other disposable items.
- Introduce biodegradable disposables and convert food and packaging waste into compost that can then be used by local farmers.
- Work with suppliers supporting or incorporating circular business models.
- Set goals, targets and KPI's, and measure them.
If you have medium ambitions in Food & Beverages you can commit to the following:
- The menu or servings must be fully vegetarian.
- The menu or servings must largely be sourced sustainably, locally and organically when possible and season-based ingredients should be offered.
- Strive to reduce food waste and implement donation of leftovers when possible.
- Make sure that tap water is easily accessible to participants.
- No single-use plastic or other disposable items.
If you have modest ambitions in Food & Beverages you can commit to the following:
- To reduce food waste, make sure to match the number of participants with the amount of food being served.
- The menu must be largely vegetarian, with only white meat and fish.
- Consider the reduction of food waste.
- Use reusable or sustainably produced cups, plates or other tableware where possible.
- Having a separate system for bio-organic waste as well as other relevant waste sorting.
Why is it important
Food accounts for over 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions (IMEX Group, GDS-Movement & Marriott International, 2020), whilst 70% of global freshwater withdrawals are used for agriculture (Worldbank, 2020). It is important to consider food and beverages for events to avoid food waste, e.g. by considering portion size. Other considerations may include how products are sourced in terms of transportation, animal welfare and working conditions. Key questions to ask yourself are:
- How much can you reduce food waste? Can you find ways of working with portion sizes and the number of different servings so as to reduce food waste?
- Where is it sourced? Are you sourcing locally, bringing a clear environmental benefit, supporting local businesses and communities and providing your participants with a strong sustainable narrative?
- What are the ingredients? Are you going for food with the least environmental impact and that generally is locally and seasonally sourced?
- How are leftovers handled? Are they being donated or composted?
In case your favourite venue cannot support your ambitions for your sustainable event, we hope you will take the opportunity to challenge the suppliers by asking them to commit to a local food waste programme like Wefood, The Danish Food Bank and ReFood or a no single-use plastic policy, for instance. Insuring a more sustainable future across the entire supply chain takes encouragement and your suggestions can help promote a change in the meeting and event industry.
Working with Copenhagen suppliers and producers
For sustainable foods and beverages, Copenhagen will be able to meet all your requirements while also giving your participants and audience members unique experiences. Here are some things worth noting about Copenhagen when working with food and beverages for your sustainable event:
- New Nordic Cuisine focuses on local, organic ingredients in season. Today, this focus is stronger than ever among restaurants in Copenhagen, and you will find climate-friendly and organic food suppliers and vendors in all price ranges from Michelin-starred Noma and Geranium, to the Reffen street food market. With a strong emphasis on fresh and innovative cuisine the food scene in Copenhagen offers everything from fine dining to new Nordic and traditional Danish cooking. Continuing to rethink their energy consumption in all processes, many restaurants have started to move beyond organic produce and towards growing their own veggies and re-using resources. Here Urban Farms, dispersed across the city’s rooftops, backyards and sidewalks allow restaurants and residents alike to grow and source their own seasonal organic food.
- In Copenhagen, buying organic produce is easy and not necessarily more expensive. Organic food makes up 24% of the total food sale in Copenhagen, and close to 90% of food consumed at Copenhagen’s public institutions is organic, according to C40 City Solutions Platform.
- Denmark’s tap water has been said to be among the top 5 best tasting in the world – no need for that bottled water.
- If you want to serve your participants and audience members one of the many organic, locally produced sodas or juices, don’t worry. The national bottle deposit and recycling system in Denmark covers both glass bottles, cans and plastic juice containers.
There are a lot of options that you can utilize to make your event more sustainable, such as:
- Minimizing food waste, which can be accomplished by using a catering service like Rub&Stub
- Buying food for your event from suppliers labeled with the Organic Cuisine Label or the vegan food label
- Making sure that you collect information on which cultural, dietary and allergy restrictions that your food supplier adheres to and make this information available to your event participants
- Ensuring that any leftover food is composted, which can be accomplished by using a food waste pick-up and composting service like refood
- Using non-plastic plates, cup and cutlery, which is not only sustainable, but also cheaper because of the tax on plastic cup, plates, bags and cutlery (for instance, the tax for plastic bags is 70 DKK/kg, while the tax for single use plates, cup and cutlery is 61 DKK/kg)
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