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Green Guardians: Food & Drink

The Green Guardians Guide, spearheaded by the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) and IQ Magazine, is a new yearly initiative boosting the profiles of those working at the forefront of sustainability, in the hope that it might also inspire others.

The 2021 list, which originally ran in IQ 103, includes 40 entries across eight categories, highlighting some of the organisations and individuals who are working so tirelessly to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business.

This year’s winners have been chosen by a judging panel that includes experts from A Greener Festival, Greener Events, Julie’s Bicycle, the Sustainability in Production Alliance, the Sustainable Event Council and the Tour Production Group.

IQ will publish entries across all categories over the coming weeks. Catch up on the previous instalment of the Green Guardians Guide which looks at event infrastructure.

8th plate
Four hundred tonnes of food is thrown away at UK festivals every year, this means 953,352 meals go to waste. With one tonne of waste equal to four tons of CO2, 8th Plate was founded to tackle this challenge.

Combating food waste is extremely important, not only because of the environmental impact, but because there are people in the UK forced to get food from food banks. 8th Plate’s aim is to help prevent food waste, and this has been welcomed by the events and catering communities alike.

NCASS (The Nationwide Caterers Association), who support small independent food and drink businesses across the UK, teamed up with A Greener Festival to find a solution to food waste at events, food markets and festivals.

They work with festivals, events, and street food businesses to redirect food to charities such as Open Kitchen, Fare Share and Refresh, who ensure that the food is given to people who need it.

In order to make sure 8th Plate itself is a sustainable initiative, the team train festival and event teams to work alongside ambassadors who, with the support from NCASS and A Greener Festival, deliver the initiative in-house and train future ambassadors in the process.

Pre-pandemic, in 2019 alone, 8th Plate salvaged 18 tonnes of food; the equivalent of 42,560 meals, across 11 festivals. Imagine what could be achieved if this was replicated across the whole industry.

Le Festif has also has ceased sales of merchandise such as t-shirts and hoodies to further reduce its carbon footprint

Le Festif!
Le Festif! is recognised in Quebec, Canada, as a pioneer and leader in environmentally sustainable festivals.

The event’s strategy for food and drink is simple but admirable. For alcohol, everything is 100% local, be it craft beer and cider, or wine, vodka and gin. And organisers take a similar approach to catering, as the food for the artists, the staff and the participants is also sourced from local producers.

As part of its sustainability drive, the festival has also stopped selling bottles of water by building free water stations; cigarette ends are recycled; the festival relies on bulk food orders for catering to eliminate plastic waste; no promotional paper is used; a tree planting programme compensates for carbon emissions; and it has ceased sales of merchandise such as t-shirts and hoodies to further reduce its carbon footprint.

“A food waste project [that started at] Roskilde has resulted in the delivery 7m + meals to socially vulnerable citizens”

Det Runde Bord
Due to Covid, Det Runde Bord has been unable to attend festivals and events to collect and distribute surplus food, as it normally does, but it has still used its experience and network to help deliver food to socially vulnerable citizens in Denmark.

When the country locked down, hundreds of canteens and restaurants also locked down. Meanwhile, food wholesalers were unable to find buyers for huge quantities of produce. So, charity Det Runde Bord stepped in, collecting and distributing between 3-5 tonnes of surplus food daily, feeding socially vulnerable fellow citizens including addicts and the mentally ill.

In the weeks after lockdown, the organisation and its partners delivered fresh produce corresponding to 1 million meals at a value of more than €2 million.

When organisers learned that Denmark’s soup kitchens had all been closed due to the danger of Covid infection, they launched The Necessary Food Club in a shuttered restaurant, before moving to a huge production kitchen, where between 300 and 1,100 single-packed meals could be prepared every day.

“Imagine that a food waste project [that started at] Roskilde Festival in 2014 has resulted in the delivery of more than 7 million meals to socially vulnerable citizens in Denmark, in addition to being an inspiration to people and organisations around the world,” says Det Runde Bord’s Peter Haugelund. “I am very proud, especially of the more than 500 fantastic volunteers who have made an effort far beyond expectations.”

“If you change conditions, you change behaviour! Your guests will act sustainably, when sustainability is the standard”

Tollwood Festival
Tollwood Festival unites a zest for life, an enjoyment of culture, and a commitment to a tolerant, peaceful and sustainable world. Since the first festival in 1988, ecological and social commitment has formed the way the festival thinks and acts, and its key focus is to keep its carbon footprint as small as possible.

Tollwood is known for its international gastronomy, which is provided by around 50 restaurateurs. Since 2003, the festival’s catering has been certified in accordance with EU organic council regulation.

This means that the event’s visitors can enjoy a diverse selection of 100% organic, vegetarian and vegan food from 20 or so nations. This dedication to organic, plant-based cuisine saves the festival 116 tonnes of CO2 per year.

As a leader in its field, Tollwood is often contacted by other festivals and venues requesting information about its return-able system and waste sorting systems.

“If you change conditions, you change behaviour! Your guests will act sustainably, when sustainability is the standard. It’s your turn, it’s your responsibility, act now!”

“We are really optimistic about the future of reusable cups”

Stack Cup
Despite the pandemic, the team at Stack-Cup has continued its mission to reduce single-use plastic and replace it with the company’s unique reusable cups.

The company has launched the Stack-Flute in the UK and Europe, as well as expanding its reach internationally, and improving its service. Stack-Flute has a unique, patented design, which was successfully launched at Pub in the Park with Slurp and We Are Quantum. The flutes are washed and re-used at each event.

Meanwhile, Stack-Cup has made its debut in Australia and New Zealand with the launch of a cup hire and washing service that is expanding rapidly from the company’s base in Adelaide.

Finally, the organisation has focussed on how it serves and communicates with customers. For example, with pub chain Greene King, it has removed the £1 customer deposit and replaced it with a micro charge, with profits going to the Macmillan Cancer Support charity. This is facilitated through better technology and customer communication.

“We are really optimistic about the future of reusable cups,” says managing director James Roles. “Being more sustainable isn’t optional now but a necessity, and we are fortunate to have built up a decade of experience in running reusable cup programmes. We recognise that partnerships are key to success and our aim for 2022 is to cement transformative relationships with partners that care as much as we do. Actions speak louder than words.”


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