Top Chef calls for overhaul of hospital catering procurement in Ireland
A top Irish Chef has pointed to hospital catering as an area ripe for an overhaul at a recent food festival debate. Speaking at the Grow Food Festival in Waterford (Ireland), Darina Allen suggested that a more flexible approach could help improve the quality and sustainability of meals.
“There are many, many challenges, particularly in the huge hospitals, to get out a vast quantity of food for all ages and all situations and so on,” Ms Allen said. “One of the areas that I think has been looked at in other countries and changed and possibly urgently needs to be looked at in this country is the procurement system.”
Public procurement of catering services has the potential to significantly decrease deforestation, according to a recent report by the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House (UK). The report points out that “As the public sector is a major purchaser of food and catering services for schools, nurseries, hospitals, care homes, canteens, prisons and the military, public procurement policies in this area clearly have the potential to promote the uptake of sustainable products not associated with deforestation.”
A pragmatic and targeted approach is recommended, building on public procurement policies which are already in place and focusing on including sustainability criteria for products which already have voluntary certification initiatives in place. The products identified include palm oil, cocoa, coffee and tea.
Collaboration between the public and private sector is also seen as an important area of focus, with procurement policies helping to spur purchasing decisions for private sector suppliers. Targeting public procurement policies is extremely important in terms of pushing the private sector to increase their efforts when it comes to sustainability. The report suggests that public authorities focus their sustainable procurement efforts on areas which are not yet being targeted by the private sector. In this way, a greater impact can be achieved in terms of overall sustainability.
The ninth edition of the CompraVerde-BuyGreen International Forum of Green Procurement will take place from 1-2 October 2015 in the Acquario Romano - Casa dell’Architettura in Rome (Italy). The event will feature GreenCanteen Award, which recognises dedication to food quality (organic food, short supply chain, seasonal food, fair trade products) and to the reduction of environmental and social impacts in publicly or privately run canteens.
The primary objective of the Forum is to promote a new approach, which integrates green procurement, social and product innovation, and green employment to create an environmentally and socially sustainable society. It provides a showroom and centre of good-practice exchange for public bodies, private companies and non-profit organizations to share their successes and learn from what others have achieved.
The Forum is amongst the largest of its kind, with over 100 companies participating, more than 400 one-to-one meetings and over 150 speakers and previous editions.
For more information, please visit the CompraVerde website.