The Planet Mark™ spoke to Shirley Duncalf, Head of Sustainable Development at Bidfood, the giant foodservice company about the business benefits of aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
What inspired Bidfood to incorporate the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in its business agenda?
There were several reasons, but the primary reason stemmed from the results of a sustainability survey that targeted our customers and employees.
The survey highlighted that our employees and customers were particularly engaged in the metrics associated with Goal 12, ‘Responsible Consumption and Production.’
We were also inspired to go down this route because an increasing number of companies are now using the SDGs for their own sustainability approaches; we wanted to make sure we were aligned with a standardised approach that links in with what forward-thinking organisations are doing.
How are the SDGs helping you shape a sustainable future across the foodservice industry?
The SDGs have helped us identify which sustainability areas we want to focus on. Addressing all goals is not a feasible objective for most organisations. However, thanks to our survey we have been able to formulate a new sustainability strategy based on attainable and measurable criteria.
How are you benchmarking your successes in improving sustainability?
Our independent sustainability website plate2planet features a diversity of stories and news articles from a range of partners. This allows us to track our stakeholder activities relating relating to Goal 12 and identify problem areas within the supply chain.
Are you focusing on a particular Goal or Goals?
Setting SDGs can be crucial to galvanising action. But an agenda concentrated on 17 SDGs runs the risk of being too general. The results of our survey highlighted that our employees and customers have a propensity to reducing waste and promoting healthy living. Consequently, we are focusing our attentions on Goal 12 – ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’ The sustainable development agenda benefits from being fragmented into manageable parts, even though we must not lose sight of the big picture.
What business value can companies in the foodservice industry expect from embedding the SDGs?
Ultimately, the SDGs will affect organisations and associations of all shapes and sizes. The widespread adoption of the SDGs marks a new era for businesses to commit to and broaden their sustainability objectives. Including the SDGs in your business agenda enables you to pre-empt future trends, it sends a positive message to stakeholders, and represents a commitment to tackling the biggest challenges on the planet.
Do you have any tips for organisations in the foodservice industry looking to align with the SDGs?
The 17 Goals and 169 targets aim to be a charter for businesses and institutions worldwide. However, implementing a strategy that measurably addresses all 169 targets is an unattainably ambitious target for most organisations. My advice for businesses in the foodservice sector is to identify two or three Goals that you can measurably contribute towards.
How has The Planet Mark™ helped you in achieving your sustainability objectives?
The Planet Mark™ has provided us with some invaluable professional support and credible advice regarding our sustainability initiatives. The fact that we have held The Planet Mark™ Certification for a number of years highlights our continued commitment to carbon reduction and gives us great recognition in the marketplace.