Read our interview with sustainable food expert Roberta Sonnino
In an interview for the INNOCAT project, Prof. Roberta Sonnino draws on her extensive research and work with cities in Europe and the USA to provide practical advice for all local authorities grappling with sustainable food procurement.
Ms Sonnino is a Professor in the School of Planning and Geography at Cardiff University, where she directs the Research Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Food and the MSc course Food, Space and Society. We asked her to to share some insights on the biggest current issues facing local authorities when procuring food and catering services: in the face of ever smaller budgets and an increasing pressure to 'buy local', how can public authorities work within the EU legal framework to procure affordable, nutritious and sustainable meals?
The interview gives suggestions for procuring creatively in order to achieve broader policy aims. It also highlights the importance of a supportive legislative framework to ensure public procurement can be leveraged in support of sustainability. “Cities all over Europe are realising the importance of public procurement as a tool to improve food security and sustainability, but evidence from my research suggests that urban policies flourish especially in countries with a national legislation that supports local action. It is crucial that we harmonise policy goals across different levels of governance and create an enabling environment for local governments that are striving to realise the enormous sustainability potential of public food procurement” said Prof. Sonnino.
Market consultation on low energy catering services and waste management
Following a prior information notice (PIN) published in October 2015, INNOCAT partner Envipark is inviting suppliers and catering service providers to get involved with its market consultation on eco-innovative office catering by filling out an online questionnaire. Following an audit carried out with lead buyer Arpa Piemonte in early 2015, Envipark identified two main areas of focus for its upcoming tender on eco-innovative office catering services. These were reducing the power consumption of the overall power services as well as reducing packaging and improving the management of biodegradable waste.
Based on this audit, Arpa is now launching a market consultation process to ensure the interest and capacity of catering service providers to meet its requirements. In order to provide a clear overview of the eco-innovative aspects required in the future tender, a Market Sounding Prospectus has been published and is available in English and Italian. The next stage of the process is a market consultation.
Both catering service providers and manufacturers of potential solutions are both invited to take part in a market consultation survey (Italian) by 15 December 2015 to share details of their solutions and their interest in being involved in further market engagement activities related to this process.
Ten principles for the transition to a sustainable food system
The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (iPES Food) has identified ten key principles which it believes will be key in supporting the move towards a more sustainable global food system. The panel, which is headed by former UN Rapporteur on Sustainable Food Olivier De Schutter, has published the principles which will underpin its work in future years.
The values identified cover the types of knowledge and analysis needed to support the transition as well as the principles and values which should underpin the sustainable food systems of the future. A trans-disciplinary, holistic approach which is independent, unafraid of being critical and is sensitive to the complex power dynamics within the international food system is seen as essential to any positive change.
In terms of how a future food system should look, the Committee focuses on sustainability and resilience, including environmental, health, social, cultural and economic dimensions. Progress indicators are also identified as an important method for measuring progress and ensuring continual improvement towards a more democratic, empowering and equitable food system.
Guide helps consumers make sustainable choices when eating out
A new sustainable food movement, Food Made Good, allows consumers to consciously choose to eat out sustainably. The eco Diners Guide was created in response to the need for a method which allowed consumers to make conscientious choices when deciding where to eat out. The guide includes approximately 5,500 eateries across the globe, with the majority being located in the UK. Businesses who are working with the campaign receive a badge which they can then display on their premises.
Badges range from a simple badge, which demonstrates that the business is committed to becoming more sustainable and is on the process of getting a sustainability score or has scored up to 49% in the Food Made Good Sustainability rating, to a badge with a 3 star rating, which reflects that the business is committed to becoming more sustainable and has received an exceptional score of 70+% in the Food Made Good Sustainability rating. The ratings are based on how well the business performs under a number of key headings including: society, sourcing and the environment.
Food Made Good programmes are not just for restaurants and cafes, but are also relevant for universities, colleges, hotels, airlines, and contract caterers.