With the help of WRAP’s Guardians of Grub resources, the UK’s leading exhibition for event, meeting and conference professionals - which returns on 24-25 June – will be encouraging its exhibitors and event buyers to help cut food waste and take sustainability seriously.
WRAP’s Guardians of Grub campaign aims to tackle the £3.2 billion worth of food wasted each year across the entire hospitality and foodservice sector and aligns with the Courtauld Commitment 2025 and the Mayor of London’s objectives that were outlined in his London Environment Strategy.
As well as tackling food waste, organisers working for parent company Northstar Meetings Group, will continue to challenge suppliers to further increase the use of recyclable and reusable products at the show while educating and encouraging exhibitors not to bring single-use plastic promotional materials and paper onsite.
Part of its 40 hours of free educational sessions will continue to help address the 1.1 million tonnes of food that the UK’s hospitality and food service sector throws away each year, 75% of which could have been eaten.
Jack Marczewski, Northstar Meetings Group’s Event Director, said: “Since our first show in 2013, we have been making great strides to further minimise our environmental impact. All of our floor covering is recycled with 50% being reintegrated by our supplier, for example. Yet, we can always do more, not only to help minimise the impact of the show, but also continue to play our part in educating and raising awareness of the tools and resources that are available by providing a stage for the industry to share best practice.”
The announcement has been welcomed by The Meetings Show host venue Olympia London. Abbey Short, Catering Manager at Olympia London, said: “We are proud of the progress we have made so far with WRAP’s help, having already reduced annual food waste by 17%, since signing up to Guardians of Grub in September 2019. This has also helped increase our overall waste recycling rate to over 98%. Our commitment to eradicating food waste continues; we shall continue to engage with our clients, visitors and colleagues to understand behaviours and work collaboratively until we can say we are a ‘zero food waste’, in addition to a ‘zero to landfill’ venue.”
The capital’s international promotional agency, London & Partners, similarly welcomed the news as it has been working alongside the Mayor of London, WRAP and event tourism organisations, such as The Meetings Show to focus efforts on its key city targets.
Paul Black, Head of Business Events at London & Partners, said: “We are delighted that Olympia London and The Meetings Show are demonstrating strong commitment and action to reducing food waste working with WRAP at this year’s show and other events. The Mayor of London 2018 Environmental Plan has set out clear city targets to achieve in the coming years and the event industry has a fundamental role to play by convening the key people and companies necessary to take positive and immediate action”
Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues said: “We’re delighted to see The Meetings Show joining the fight to reduce food waste. We estimate that food waste, including food packaging, makes up around 30 per cent of London’s municipal waste. The Mayor has set strong targets in his Environment strategy to cut food waste by 50 per cent by 2030.
“Through our London Business Climate Leaders programme we’ve worked with major businesses to help them become more sustainable and cut emissions. It’s great to see the capital’s events and hospitality sectors are joining us to tackle this challenge.”
Marcus Gover, CEO of WRAP, said: “We will not tackle the impact of global warming if we don’t fix the food system, and everyone needs to play their part. If everyone in the hospitality and food service industry put as much passion into reducing waste as they do into creating delicious food, it would make a massive difference to cutting the damage food waste is doing to our planet.
Guardians of Grub provides the tools to help everyone to reduce food waste without compromising on quality, or customer experience, and save money. It’s a double win; for the environment and for business.”
Meanwhile, Northstar Meetings Group has agreed to a ‘Better Meetings, Better Future’ partnership with Positive Impact and will be looking to introduce similar pledges across its portfolio of events. The company produces more than 80 face-to-face events in 13 countries in retail travel, hospitality, corporate travel, travel technology, sports travel, and the meetings and incentive industry.