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Sustainable conference in practice - Catering

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Catering

A starting point for a sustainable catering should be that:
  • Everyone gets suitable food i.e. all the different allergies and food restrictions are well taken into account. This is still not the case in many events. And if it has been noticed, in many cases the same food elements repeat or the meals are not nutritious enough in the longer events.
  • The amount of waste and left overs is minimized. A minimization of packaging materials and a beforehand decision on what to do with the left overs are advised.
  • From the carbon point of view, the catering should be organized using local seasonable products and environmentally friendly suppliers. The definition of the local food needs to be clearly agreed with the suppliers and should be explicitly showed in the menus.
  • The menu options have to be carefully chosen in order to avoid big mistakes, such as the use of rise instead of potatoes in the case of Finland. Consider the use of meat.
  • The table cloths should not be disposable and the serviettes as environmentally friendly as possible, preferably done as close as possible.
  • No disposable cups, plates, cutlery etc. It is worth to stick with this, as this is the way to ruin the sustainable atmosphere. Remember the cups for the session speakers!
  • Tap water and local juices to be used.
  • Consider how you could combine the experimenting of the local atmosphere/elements and catering at the same time.

In order to recognize the local food option on the restaurant‘s menu and to indicated the restaurants involved, a symbol competition campaign was carried out in 2010. This was the result of it. The initiative is still alive and has started to progress as a business idea..
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When analysing the choices of local food provides in Turku in 2009, it was realized that at that time the city of Turku did not have enough restaurants that would be able to offer an entire menu using locally produced ingredients for over 500 conference guests. The organizers wanted to speed up the local food process in Turku and decided that one evening all of the conference participants would spread up across the city to enjoy the evening. This enabled the start of a local food initiative as now there was a demand for the local food. Through restaurant–producer workshops, logistical profiling, marketing and open cooperation was formed. It was vital that it was not a project, but a common commitment that had in the end eight committed restaurants in Turku. During the Solutions local, together Conference on 1st February 2011, the restaurants launched a dinner that was made of minimum 80 percent locally produced ingredients. This meal also utilized seasonal raw materials, ecologically produced and Fair trade products. After that date the restaurants involved have had daily local food offers on their lunch lists or á la carte menus.
All the catering companies during the Solutions local, together Conference followed the same guidelines as the local food initiative and all the menus, snacks and drinks went through a through analyse before any acceptance.

© 2012-2013 Union of the Baltic Cities, Commission on Environment