Compass Group UK & Ireland has announced its commitment to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across its own operations and value chain within 10 years.
The food service provider has aligned its climate ambitions by committing to develop science-based targets to limit global temperature rises to 1.5°C above pre-industrial level. It will follow the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) criteria set by the joint initiative of CDP, the UN Global Compact (UNGC), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the WWF.
The provider, which serves three million customers a year in the UK, is a signatory of Business Ambition for 1.5°C, making the commitment to align its climate targets with the Paris agreement. In doing so, it has signed up to the UN’s Race to Zero campaign and aims to reach net-zero through innovation, collaboration and investment through business practices.
Compass UK&I’s pledge is the food service industry’s first commitment to a climate net-zero economy. The company is making changes at scale to ensure that sustainability is a core business objective across all services – including launching a seed investment fund of £1 million to support the development of carbon reduction and sustainable food production innovation. It aims to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions of at least 55 per cent by 2025 and at least 65 per cent across its operations and value chain by 2030 from a 2019 baseline.
Compass UK&I will also influence clients, employees and suppliers through its Foodbuy division to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help create a more sustainable food system. All new and current clients will also be offered carbon-neutral and carbon-reduction offers.
By 2030 there will be a 40 per cent switch towards plant-based proteins, with an interim target of at least 25 per cent by 2025. And 70 per cent of the five main food categories (dairy and cheese, fruit and vegetables, pork, beef and chicken) should be sourced from regenerative agriculture by 2030.
Recognising the impact of its supply chain and the role it has in influencing change across the food system, the company said it would “make key interventions to increase the adoption of regenerative agricultural principles and practices across all key product categories and increase the share of locally sourced foods. It will also rework its supplier auditing process to include key environmental performance criteria, including energy and resources efficiency, renewable energy, waste management and green logistics”.
The company is currently removing all single-use plastic cutlery, expanded polystyrene and unnecessary single-use plastic plates and bowls from its operations before July. All fleet cars will be 100 per cent electric by May 2024.
In 2025 Compass UK&I will start offsetting some of its carbon emissions with high-quality UK-based carbon removal projects such as afforestation in rural and urban areas, and peatland rehabilitation. Once it has reduced carbon emissions by 2030, it vows to evolve its programme from compensating to neutralising any remaining carbon emissions in line with SBTi criteria, thus delivering its 2030 Net-Zero target and will continue delivering such performance from then on.
In support of these goals, Compass UK&I has published Our Climate Promise and Roadmap to Net Zero, which provide detail of the philosophies and milestones behind the pledge. Compass UK&I’s science-based targets will be validated and published later this year. The company is already engaged with the Science Based Targets Network on developing SBTs for all aspects of nature including biodiversity, freshwater, land and ocean.
Robin Mills, MD, Compass Group UK&I said: “We believe it is our responsibility to contribute towards a future of sustainable food production and regenerative agricultural principles and practices, and a commitment to climate net-zero is an important milestone. Critical to the delivery of our targets will be the partnerships with our clients, suppliers, employees, civil society partners and government.”