Meet the E&E Award-winner: Collaboration & engagement – Melton Foods

Based on a 10-acre site in rural Leicestershire, Melton Foods has achieved the Holy Grail of inspiring staff, collaborating with customers and maximising social influence to deliver a holistic engagement programme that has led to tangible environmental impacts. Meet the winner of the Collaboration & Engagement Award...

Launched in June 2015, Melton’s ‘Cultivate’ programme was borne out of a desire for the food-to-go manufacturer and its customers to ‘do more with less’, by improving efficiencies and transforming its approach to waste management.  Having already achieved zero waste to landfill, Melton Foods was keen to explore how it could further reduce its environmental impact and have a positive effect on local communities.

The project began with a ‘Discovery’ audit, conducted by Melton’s partner Veris Strategies. The audit mapped the flow of waste throughout the business, highlighting hotspots and key reduction and re-use opportunities. This benchmarking process included a stakeholder engagement ‘snapshot’ to identify particular barriers and drivers to accelerated performance.

From the audit results, Melton Foods was able to develop its new Cultivate strategy, focusing on positive re-use opportunities around food waste, surplus products and community donations. Underpinning this was a creative stakeholder engagement programme that sought to guide and drive behavioural change; inspiring employees to become more resource-efficient through interactive workshops and creative visual communication tools.

Melton was also keen to develop a stronger supply chain partnership with its primary business customer – Waitrose. The supermarket chain’s management team was given the opportunity to engage directly with supply chain workers and see the new strategy in action through a tour of the Melton Foods factory.

The ‘Cultivate’ stakeholder engagement campaign was then launched via an interactive roadshow on-site, supported and attended by Waitrose’s sustainability and ethical sourcing manager Quentin Clarke. Green fitness trainers encouraged staff members from across the business to get involved and become ‘environmentally fit’ through a range of eco-themed games, competitions and quizzes.

After enhancing supply chain transparency by promoting and facilitating this dialogue between customer, supplier and retailer, Melton Foods is now looking to pilot another factory tour with Waitrose for specific supplier sub-groups; to enhance peer engagement and promote further best practice.

Through Cultivate, Melton Foods has overcome the notorious staff engagement barrier for its sustainability programme. Six months’ on from the project’s launch, the food manufacturer has seen a 50% reduction in waste on site, with more than 70% of previously-considered ‘waste’ product now going on for further positive re-use; benefitting the local community via a network of social enterprises and charities.

A recent ‘eco survey’ carried out by Melton Foods reveals that 100% of its staff now believe it is committed to operating sustainably. As Waitrose’s Clarke concluded: “Cultivate sets a new benchmark for suppliers”.

Judges’ comments

Melton Foods has implemented a creative behaviour change campaign for staff that is focused on creating positive engagement and promoting idea generation in the business. The stakeholder engagement campaign has been well aligned with the company’s own efforts of changing processes and systems to drive sustainability.

Collaboration & Engagement: Meet the finalists

NFU Scotland / Savills

The Renewable Development Initiative (RDI) was a three-year, £250,000 project set up in 2012 to provide trustworthy, independent advice to the farming and land management sectors on the implementation of renewable energy technologies. The Renewable Development Initiative has formed a key part of an ongoing campaign to reduce carbon emissions by increasing the uptake of renewable energy technologies from farmers and rural community groups across the country.

Rexam Beverage Can

Launched as part of an innovative behaviour change campaign, the Meat Packaging Europe (MPE) logo aims to unify environmental messaging throughout Europe and encourages consumers to think more carefully about their role in recycling. The global recycling rates for cans currently stands at around 70%, making them the most recycled beverage packaging in the world. This has created a 2.5 million tonne market for used beverage cans, worth around £2.5bn.


Veolia’s Let’s Do It campaign was created to help Southwark change resident behaviour with recycling. The campaign was developed with significant testing of target audiences. For the 15,000 properties initially targeted, an uplift in recycling rates of 1% was seen, representing an initial financial saving to Southwark Council of £17,500 and 46 tonnes of CO2 in just six months.

Collaborative Project Management Services

The whole Anglia Electrification Portfolio (AEP) was divided into groups to come up with initiatives that benefit safety, the wider community or the environment. Direct benefits included various projects with local charities; actively helping causes as well as holding fundraising events. Indirect benefits of this scheme included greater team cohesion and performance and a general culture change towards more sustainability projects that include community and environmental considerations.

edie staff

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