Heathrow introduces new sustainable pledges for food and beverage retailers

Heathrow has become the first UK airport to propose a series of environmental targets, including energy reduction, recycling and a 'mystery shopper' programme, for restaurants and outlets in the airport.

In partnership with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), Heathrow has launched the Ingredients for Success guide which aims to bridge individual sustainability targets set by restaurants with the overarching themes of the Responsible Heathrow 2020 targets.

Heathrow’s retail director Jonathon Coen said: “Heathrow is a small city, hosting over 400 companies, 76,000 employees, and serving 190,000 passengers every day. An operation the size and scale of Heathrow relies on collaboration with our partners to ensure our sustainability ambitions are realised. 

“As the UK’s first guide of its kind, Ingredients for Success is a call to action for the food and beverage retailers who wish to join our airport on its journey to become the world’s most sustainable hub airport.” 

The guide – implemented as part of Heathrow’s Sustainability Partnership programme – sets out six sustainability targets for all food and beverage retailers operating within the airport to follow. Heathrow has a target to reach 6.5 kWh of energy use per passenger by 2020, in line with this outlets are tasked with reducing energy use by 10% for every person that they serve.

The guide recommends that outlets implement a systematic approach to saving water that maps water use across the different preparation stages. Outlets are also tasked with contributing to Heathrow’s efforts to recycle 70% of all food waste by introducing schemes such as cooking oil recycling.

To accelerate the sustainable movement, employees have been implored to reduce car use and take up car sharing schemes as part of a mass behaviour change programme. Employees and outlets alike will also have to participate in charity events and offer job opportunities to local people.

A mystery shopper audit programme will also be introduced to ensure that the outlet’s sustainability efforts are apparent to the passengers and customers at the airport.

SRA’s founding director Simon Heppner said: “The public’s appetite for a sustainable dining experience is increasing significantly – wherever they are eating out. So for Heathrow to put sustainability at the heart of the passenger experience is a very welcome and positive move.

“We look forward to seeing the airport’s food retailers embrace these targets and use them as a base from which to aim even higher.”

Carbs and carbon

With the annual cost of food waste in the hospitality and foodservice sector set to reach £3bn this year, ReFood’s Philip Simpson has discussed the challenges facing the industry.

While Heathrow has introduced a number of sustainability pledges, the potential of an extra runway could put added pressure on the retailers to deliver these targets as passengers increase.

Environmental issues still the cloud the potential of this extra runway, but the Independent Transport Commission (ITC) has stated that an uptake in green technology would mitigate any carbon impacts.

Heathrow Airport was also a recent winner at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards, taking home the award in the Energy Management category.

Ingredients for Success

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie