A set of business standards is giving food organisations the tools to reduce waste and save energy to minimise the harmful impact they could be having on the environment
BSI’s EMEA food sector propositions manager, Erica Colson comments on how organizations can take practical steps to reduce their impact on the environment and preserve essential resources.
The food industry is under the spotlight. Saving Earth’s resources has become a vital challenge – and the traditional “take, make and dispose” model is no longer enough.
At a time when consumers are more eco-conscious than ever, and especially shrewd about their food and beverage choices, food businesses are under pressure to embed sustainable practices into every part of their supply chain “from farm to fork”.
Many organisations are aware of the opportunities, but making the shift towards circular, sustainable thinking is not an easy task.
But being sustainable is not just about doing the right thing for the environment. It is also an important business move. Sustainability is all about being circular – in other words, resources should be recovered at their highest quality, reused and kept in circulation for as long as possible.
That applies to everything from food processing to packaging – and it not only cuts waste but is much more efficient, adding lasting value to the business and giving it a competitive advantage. Additionally, it can boost a business’s reputation, proving that it is responding to customer expectations and remaining relevant in the marketplace.
Utilising the guidance of ISO 14001, an internationally recognized standard on environmental management is advisable according to Colson, as she states that this offers comprehensive advice and guidance to help companies implement sustainable operations for the long term.
The ISO 14001 standard on environmental management standard maps out a framework that businesses can use to improve resource management focusing on maximising the value of the resources and minimising waste.
Colson suggests that the standard delivers a holistic approach that encourages organisations to continually evaluate and mitigate their impact on the environment. This means looking at internal business operations, as well as the surrounding environmental conditions, that a business may need to adapt to.
Colson urges that a key area of the food and drink supply chain that urgently needs attention is energy usage.
The ISO 50001 standard on energy management tackles this problem head on, supporting leadership teams to use energy more efficiently.
All food organisations, with sustainability at the core of their strategy, can become more efficient and achieve substantial cost savings. But more than this, with systems in place to encourage a circular culture of sustainability, the industry can set a benchmark for climate and clean energy action.
Committing to a more sustainable business model means becoming part of a wider movement – one that is defining and cultivating a more positive vision of the future.
With systems in place to support this, food businesses will become more resilient, more trusted and more able to provide food and resources for the generations to come.
BSI is the business improvement company that enables organisations to turn standards of best practice into habits of excellence.
For over a century BSI has championed what good looks like and driven best practice in organisations around the world. Working with 84,000 clients across 193 countries, it is a truly international business with skills and experience across a number of sectors including aerospace, automotive, built environment, food, and healthcare.
Through its expertise in Standards Development and Knowledge Solutions, Assurance, Regulatory Services and Professional Services, BSI improves business performance to help clients grow sustainably, manage risk and ultimately be more resilient.