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INNOCAT - eNewsletter
ISSUE #4 December 2015

Dear colleague,

We are pleased to send you the fourth edition of the INNOCAT e-newsletter, bringing you the latest updates on project news and other interesting initiatives in the world of sustainable catering.

Happy reading,

Your INNOCAT team

To read more about the topics below, visit the INNOCAT website at www.sustainable-catering.eu.

In this issue

Project News

School catering in the spotlight in INNOCAT report

City Interest Group delves into school catering

Interview with sustainable food expert Roberta Sonnino

Have Your Say - Where does our food really come from?

Project News

INNOCAT packaging tenders awarded

Three suppliers have been chosen for the first tenders launched within the INNOCAT project. The two tenders, for recyclable food containers and biodegradable dishes, were launched by project partner Resah-idf, the network for hospital procurers in the Paris region of France. The new containers are expected to help reduce overall waste sent to landfill and simplify waste separation. Awarded in the form of framework contracts, the agreements are available for use by all French healthcare organisations. If you are interested in buying off from this contract, please contact l.potel@resah.fr.

The first tender consisted of two lots: recyclable food containers including the recycling service, and biodegradable dishes. Following a period of quality testing to ensure the proposed solutions met the required EN13432 standard, the two lots were awarded respectively to the manufacturers Rescaset and FIRPLAST. The second tender, for a consulting service to reorganise the logistics of sorting organic from non-organic waste, was awarded to the agricultural and food company Saria.

For more information, visit the sustainable packaging tender page.

Image copyright: Lucafabbian, dreamstime.com

Market consultation on low energy catering services and waste management

Following a prior information notice (PIN) published in October 2015, INNOCAT partner Envipark (Italy) 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.

For more information and to take part in the survey, visit the Office Catering page.

Image copyright: Canteen, Ty Hywel, Cardiff Bay (Flickr.com) by "National Assembly for Wales", licensed under CC BY 2.0

School catering in the spotlight in INNOCAT report

Eco-innovation need not involve expensive high-tech solutions, according to a new INNOCAT report on the sustainable procurement of school catering services. The report looks at sustainable catering practices in schools across Europe and highlights the importance of broad stakeholder involvement and inventive approaches to food rather than a reliance on expensive equipment and significant financial investment.

The catering sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. Conventional food production, processing, delivery and preparation processes are linked to heavy consumption of fossil fuels as well as significant soil and water pollution, proliferation of plastic and other non-organic waste, and local air pollution caused by transportation within cities. It is therefore not only the food itself but the systems by which it is packaged, prepared and delivered which need to be considered when reducing catering’s carbon footprint.

Based around an exploration of common practical and perceived problems faced by schools, the INNOCAT Good Practice Report on Sustainable Public Procurement of School Catering Services tries to draw out the many clever and innovative approaches already being used to procure more environmentally and socially sustainable catering services. By highlighting ideas and best practice cases from around Europe, the report provides ideas, inspiration and further resources for those who are involved in the procurement of food and catering services for schools.

For more information, download the report.

Image copyright: INNOCAT

City Interest Group delves into sustainable school catering

School catering is a hot topic in cities across Europe. It is responsible for a large percentage of public expenditure and is close to the heart of most citizens, as it affects the diet of their children. Catering is not just important for environmental and health reasons, but can also have a direct social impact through the creation of jobs and the promotion of small and medium sized enterprises.

The City Interest Group on sustainable school catering has been set up to enable cities to share their experiences on the topic and work towards achieving their sustainability goals. The group, which has been set up as part of the INNOCAT project, brings together the cities of Copenhagen, Malmö, Helsinki and Ghent and INNOCAT partner Turin. In a series of webinars and face to face meetings, these cities discuss their achievements, goals and the challenges they face as they strive to procure sustainable catering services.

The group has met twice since it was formed at the start of 2015. At a workshop in Turin (Italy) on 12 May members shared their experiences of measuring the carbon footprint of their catering services. A meeting in Barcelona (Spain) on 12 November 2015 was dedicated to providing input into Turin's draft sustainable catering guidelines, as well as discussing issues and ideas related to the members' own upcoming catering procurements.

To learn more about the group members and their activities, visit the City Interest Group page.

Image copyright: INNOCAT

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.

To read the interview in full, visit our publications page.

Image copyright: Roberta Sonnino

Have Your Say - Where does our food really come from?

A study carried out by students at the University of Freiburg (Germany) showed how far each of the individual ingredients included in some of the university canteen's typical dishes had travelled. This links in with an ongoing debate around the importance of transportation in the overall ecological footprint of food. In terms of carbon emissions, the percentage associated with logistics is relatively low, particularly compared to meat and dairy products. Other factors, however, including congestion and air quality - especially with regard to other polluters such as NOx and particulate matter - can be important considerations.

A further complication when considering the food on our plates is the difficulty of measuring the actual emissions associated with preparing a plate of food. Most measurements are instead estimates produced based on standardised data sets.

How important is food provenance in procurement of catering services? What social and environmental aspects do you include in your catering tenders?

Share your thoughts and experiences in the Sustainable Catering Forum

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