Compass Group meets EV goal early, increases climate targets for food-related emissions

The British company has this week published its first in-depth climate impact report, developed to communicate progress towards its 2030 net-zero goal that it unveiled in 2021. The goal entails reducing absolute emissions across all scopes by at least 69% by 2030. against a 2019 baseline. It has been validated in line with the Science-Based Targets Initiative’s (SBTi) 1.5C trajectory.

Compass Group UK&I will finalise a plan to neutralise residual emissions in 2023, detailing its approach to insetting and offsetting.

According to the report, Compass Group UK&I has delivered a 6.46% reduction in absolute emissions since 2019. The business has grown, but it has posted significant decreases in emissions across all Scopes – more than 57% for Scope 1 (direct) emissions; more than 81% for Scope 2 (power-related) emissions and more than 20% for food-related indirect emissions (Scope 3).

On Scope 2 emissions, the report confirms that Compass Group UK&I delivered its ambition to procure 100% renewable electricity by 2022 on time. This is a significant change, given that, in 2019, just 2% of the company’s electricity mix was renewable.

The report also confirms that Compass Group UK&I has achieved its EV ambitions, set for 2024, two years early. The business had pledged to introduce an electric policy for cars by 2024 but this was brought in last year. All cars on order are pure electric. One-third of the firm’s car fleet is now pure-electric and a further 18% are hybrid.

Lower-carbon menus

Like most food businesses, Compass Group UK&I sees a significant majority of its emissions footprint – more than 77% – arising from indirect (Scope 3) sources. More than 64% of its overall emissions footprint lies in the lifecycle of ingredients and foods.

In setting its net-zero target, Compass Group UK&I pledged to switch at least 40% of its food offerings to plant-based proteins by 2030, with an interim target of at least 25% by 2025. It has also forged ahead with plans to source more meat, dairy and produce from regenerative farms and to source more locally and seasonally to reduce transport-related emissions.

Work so far has resulted in emissions from animal proteins falling more than one-third since 2018.

The report reveals that Compass Group UK&I’s 4,000+ chefs have either delivered – or are in the process of delivering – more than 90,000 recipe reformulations in support of this work. It also confirmed that more than 25,000 frontline catering staff have completed carbon training, which is now being rolled out on a mandatory basis.

New targets

Compass Group UK&I’s director of delivery for net-zero, Carolyn Ball, said: “As knowledge and understanding continues to grow within our teams, our clients, suppliers and partners, we are seeing a gear shift across our entire value chain. There is a long way to go and no shortcuts to get there, but our responsibility and opportunity to act is as clear as it is compelling.”

One shift in knowledge for businesses procuring goods from agriculture supply chains is the introduction of specific Forest, Land and Agriculture (FLAG) Guidance from the SBTi. The guidance clarifies how companies that are linked to land-intensive activities across the value chain can account for emissions reduction and removal.

Following the launch of initial guidance last year, the SBTi is set to provide an update this year.

As such, Compass Group UK&I has increased its emissions targets. It has now pledged to deliver a 72% reduction in FLAG emissions by 2030 and 90% reduction in non-FLAG emissions by 2030, against a 2019 baseline.

The report also includes new commitments to end deforestation in the supply chains of directly-sourced deforestation-linked commodities by 2025 and to increase non-food-waste recycling on all sites where Compass manages the contract by 2030.

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