Anthony Kingsley is Sustainability & CSR Lead for London-based contract caterers, Vacherin. With a background in business operations and stakeholder engagement, he has furthered Vacherin’s sustainability with I’mperfect produce sourcing, waste reduction strategy, employee training programmes, and building strong community partnerships. Anthony was awarded Sustainability Professional of the Year at Edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards 2015. He hopes his passion for food sustainability will positively contribute toward the food service industry in London.
Setting the Scene
Vacherin, a London catering company, created Anthony’s role in order to push a sustainability strategy within the company, take responsibility for benchmarking and meeting the required targets. Vacherin had previously won the Sustainable Cities Award in 2009 and 2011 but were eager to take progress sustainability within the organisation from being an important but peripheral activity, to being apart of the DNA of the business and a factor which impacted every business decision made.
This initial setting provided Anthony with a blank slate; it was his role to run with this vision and streamline it into an effective approach. The challenges have been getting the team on the same page to understand what sustainability really means as well as the absence of data for benchmarking and comparison of information.
Achieving Rapid Combined Impact
Within a year of Anthony’s position he has
- Launched the I’mperfect Initiative which requires the company’s fruit and veg suppliers to source produce which does not meet cosmetic standards of the larger retailers. Over the course of 2015 3.2 tonnes of imperfect fruit or veg have been sourced for Vacherin.
- Implemented the Employee Volunteering programme into the business strategy. This allows employees to take 2 days a year paid to volunteer in one of Vacherin’s chosen charities, Deptford Reach or Luminary Bakery. In 2015 a total of 248 hours were used for volunteering.
- Vacherin’s first annual CSR report launched in 2015, the Vacherin Cares Report, with the intention to engage stakeholders, publicise benchmarking and showcase the journey to become more environmentally friendly and socially responsible.
- In total Anthony has help Vacherin win 5 awards including the Good Egg Award from CIWF for their commitment to free range eggs; the Lunch Business Award winner in the CSR category; Foodservice Cateys winner in CSR category; the highest rating 3 stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association and one personal award Edie Sustainability Leaders Awards 2015 in the Sustainability Professional category
Creating a Lasting Legacy
Throughout Anthony’s role his main approach has been collaboration.
To get the staff on board with his sustainability agenda he has undertaken sustainability inductions to all 344 employees, from Director to front of house as well as integrated sustainability into each Vacherin employee’s job description so that everyone has some CSR responsibilities within their job role such as waste auditing, volunteering and resource efficiency etc.
To keep this momentum fresh and therefore long lasting Anthony has started sustainability focus groups which are open to all employees and clients; this has created a platform for sharing ideas and challenges within the food industry. For employee engagement to be continued, Anthony is keeping meticulous notes on methodology for organisational learning in order to reflect on annual progress and provide effective training.
Advice for Creating Positive Impact
“The one piece of advice I would share with someone who is looking to make a positive impact is that you cannot do it alone. Collaboration is vital, and you have to raise awareness and inspire those around you if you want to make a real impact. Even though I am the Head of Sustainability & CSR I am only one person, the real impact comes from our 344 employees who are making the thousands of decisions every day to recycle more, make purchasing decisions, or source Fairtrade. Everyone had to be part of the solution. If you inspire and empower, you’ll be successful.”
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