12 Jan 2022

From small acorns... Best Sustainability Initiative winner 2021

Entries to the Memcom Excellence Awards 2022 are now open. To inspire you to apply, this series will highlight the achievements of last year’s winners.

At the Memcom Excellence Awards 2021, the Best Sustainability Initiative category was won by the Foodservice Equipment Association, who offered their members a practical and innovative way to offset the carbon emissions generated by their business activities.

In collaboration with the Trees for Cities charity, the ‘FEA Forest’ campaign was launched in November 2020, with the goal of planting 2,250 trees by the end of 2021. The trees will remove greenhouse gases such as CO2 from the atmosphere throughout their 100 year life cycle.

“We know that from small acorns big things grow,” the awards submission states. “We also know that the change we achieve will take some time to come to fruition, so in that respect it’s not immediately tangible, but what we will change in the short-term is the attitude towards business responsibility and environmental impact.”

The campaign arose out of the association’s environmental strategy, and discussions as to how it could support the government’s target for the UK to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2050. To offset one tonne of CO2 emissions, the FEA estimates that an organisation would need to plant three trees.

The minimum donation FEA members can make to the campaign is set at £300, which enables 30 trees to be planted. Within the first three months of the campaign, participants had already donated 800 trees to the forest.

As the association explains in the awards entry, this project is part of a broader sustainability programme. “The collaboration between ourselves and Trees for Cities supports a key facet in our Net Zero Carbon Five Point Plan in which we are delivering an authoritative report and roadmap setting out the industry actions, government policies and associated mechanisms and processes that are needed to manage the net zero transition in the foodservice equipment industry.”

“The benefits of this collaboration will be felt by a much wider audience than just our members, the trees will grow to dominate the landscapes and green spaces of the UK, creating a brighter future with cleaner air for generations to come, long outliving all of us that have played a part in bringing this collaboration to life.”

The awards judging panel were impressed by the clear aims and targets the FEA had set for the initiative, the demonstrable progress made towards those targets, and the high level of member engagement it had created. The judges also appreciated the short video animation the FEA created to explain and promote the offer to its members. Take a look, here