CH&CO awarded top rating from SRA

CH&CO has become the largest and most diverse contract caterer to be awarded the top-level Three Star rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).

The SRA rating, which is regarded as the Michelin Stars of sustainability, encompasses the whole CH&CO business, including workplaces, destinations, venues, events, education, livery and healthcare.

Sustainability is an important long-term focus for the caterer, with CH&CO Planet embedded in the company culture and an active team of Green Ambassadors made up of people from across the business championing sustainability at every opportunity. Its chefs also regularly attend supplier visits to farms (pictured) and fisheries, for example, helping them to build an understanding of sustainable techniques and giving them the knowledge to inform customers where their food comes from.

CH&CO and the SRA have worked in partnership for the past 12 months to analyse and monitor the business’ sustainability credentials across ten areas under the three key pillars of sourcing, environment and society.

The in-depth process harnessed the ongoing commitment and enthusiasm at all levels of the business – from the board to on-site teams. By sharing best practices across sites and sectors and acting on the advice of the SRA, the top rating was secured.

To achieve Three Stars, CH&CO’s overall scores for sourcing, environment and society were strong. However, it scored particularly well compared to the SRA average or similar businesses in the areas of ‘celebrate local and seasonal’, ‘source better fish’, ‘support the community’, ‘feeding people well’, and ‘value natural resources’.

Terry Waldron, CH&CO’s Chief Operating Officer, said, “We’re very proud to have been awarded Three Stars by the SRA across the entire company. This is an incredible achievement, particularly for a company of our size and scope. A lot of people across the business have made this happen and I thank everyone for their commitment and contribution.

'Sustainability has always been an important part of our culture, so we started from a good place, but working with the SRA challenged us and helped us focus on embedding consistent sustainability practices across the business, regardless of sector or site. It’s been an inspiring process and a pleasure to work with the SRA team.

“Of course, this is not a case of job done! It’s just the beginning of a long-term commitment. We must maintain focus to improve on our scores across the board. Sustainability is a complex, ever-changing area and there will always be things that we can do better.

'By working in partnership with the SRA we’ll continue to shape our policies in line with the latest developments and challenge ourselves, as well as the industry, to make positive change. There’s not a quick fix when it comes to sustainability, but it’s something we’re committed to for the sake of our planet and future generations.”

Andrew Stephen, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, said, “CH&CO approached us with an ambitious challenge: How could we help them to embed consistent, high levels of sustainability across their hugely diverse range of over 700 sites?

'A year on, and as a result of an unswerving commitment from the top of the business down to the kitchen floor, the business has achieved Three Stars in the SRA’s Sustainability Rating. A fantastic achievement.

'Lessons learned in school dining rooms have been transferred to workplace restaurants and vice versa, whether that’s healthy eating programmes, food waste reduction initiatives or volunteering schemes for staff. As a result, all CH&CO customers can now enjoy food that does good as well as tasting good.”