The UK’s largest food and support services company has reported a 36.11% absolute reduction in emissions from animal proteins, following its first 18 months of targeted climate action, equating to a reduction of 88,388 tCO2e. This achievement has contributed to a significant 187,084 tCO2e absolute reduction in emissions (-20.37%) reported in its food and drink emissions alone (Scope 3, Category 1) between FY19 (its baseline year) and FY22.
Animal proteins are a key carbon hotspot for the caterer (20.58% of its FY19 baseline footprint) and the positive outcome achieved in this area is the combined impact of significant reductions achieved in emissions-intensive subcategories such as dairy and cheese (-46.64%) and meat (-28.39%).
These results, which are shared in Compass Group UK&I’s first climate impact report since announcing its commitment to reach Climate Net Zero by 2030 in May 2021, follow the validation of its science-based targets in September 2021, and the appointment of Professor Sir Charles Godfray as Chief Climate and Sustainability Advisor, announced in May 2022.
The importance of successfully targeting animal proteins, is underlined by evidence shared in the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the substantial decreases in greenhouse gas emissions possible through a shift to plant-based diets.
Since making its climate commitment, Compass has enlisted its 4,000+ strong chef community in the ongoing reformulation of 90,000+ recipes delivered via the 180.9 million meals it serves across 6 sectors in 4,000+ locations; efforts that have accelerated in the last 18 months thanks to strong partnerships with clients across both the public and private sector.
The report provides a detailed insight into both the progress and challenges faced by a business of Compass’ size and complexity, as it looks to achieve decarbonisation and a positive environmental impact, irrespective of the market conditions.*
Three areas of progress are called out in the report covering: carbon, waste and biodiversity
Scope 3 – Category 1 (87.46% of FY19 baseline footprint)
**All reductions referenced below account for absolute reductions recorded between FY19 – FY22
- -20.37% reduction in food and drink emissions, including:
- -36.11% reduction in emissions from animal proteins; the combined result of emissions reduction achieved in carbon-intensive subcategories, incl.
- -28.39% reduction in emissions from meat
- -46.64% reduction in emissions from dairy and cheese
- -25.28% reduction in emissions from fish and seafood
- 100% renewable electricity; up from 2% in 2019 – achieving its target, validated by the SBTi in September 2021.
- 100% electric car policy introduced early (target date was 2024); 33% of fleet are now electric, 18% are hybrid and 100% on order are EV.
- Site-specific carbon footprinting tool developed to model decarbonisation pathways
- 90,000+ recipe reformulations underway by 4,000+ strong chef community – in support of the daily carbon budget per person, per day of 2.45kg CO2e, as recommended by the EAT-Lancet Commission.
- Over 25,200 completions of mandated Climate Net Zero module in level 2 frontline team catering
- Food waste tracking system updated to measure and report on food waste across five categories (out of date; plate; post-production; preproduction; and retail)
- Sponsored the development of a 92-acre plot into an innovative demonstrator farm, via Compass’ Levy UK business and in collaboration with specialist regenerative agriculture consultancy RegenFarmCo, Yorkshire Water and Quorn Professionals.
Additionally the company has introduced new targets:
- No deforestation for deforestation-linked commodities (directly sourced) by 2025
- Increased emissions reduction targets: 72% reduction in FLAG emissions by 2030 and 90% reduction in non-FLAG emissions by 2030 (as required by SBTi)
- 65% increase in non-food waste recycling for all sites where Compass manages the contract by 2030
Challenges to be addressed
- Three specific areas of challenge are called out in the report: plastics and packaging, deforestation and water stewardship, with action plans set out on how these will be tackled
Commenting on the progress to date, Professor Sir Charles Godfrey, Chief Climate and Sustainability Advisor, Compass UK&I said:
“The takeaway is clear: we shall never achieve Climate Net Zero without radical changes in the way we produce and consume food. In the 12 months I’ve been working with Compass UK & Ireland, I have been hugely impressed by the passion with which the company is trying to make a difference. We are all on a journey where the destination is clear but the route uncertain. What I am certain of is that Compass UK & Ireland can make a real difference and show that substantive change is both possible and achievable in the food service sector and beyond. These are exciting times.”
Robin Mills, Managing Director, Compass Group UK & Ireland added:
“The motivation, creativity and persistence across our communities and clients is growing and the results we have already seen are a credit to so many people within our organisation and across the global industry. But we must move faster. Food unites us all and we have an extraordinary opportunity to come together and reduce the impact of our diets at scale. I could not be prouder of the foundation we have built and the collective determination of our people to drive lasting change.”
Carolyn Ball, Director of Delivery for Net Zero, Compass Group UK & Ireland concluded:
“We developed this report to share transparently the progress we have made since announcing our Climate Net Zero commitment. As knowledge and understanding continues to grow within our teams, our clients, suppliers and partners, we are seeing a gear shift across our entire value chain. There is a long way to go and no shortcuts to get there, but our responsibility and opportunity to act is as clear as it is compelling.”
Also included within the report is:
- Compass’s carbon footprint (FY19 and FY22) – presented with clear breakdowns by category
- An updated Roadmap – republished to show progress against interim milestones
- New targets – announced in line with latest guidance from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)
- 5 interlinked focus areas, included in addition to carbon – communicating the business’ understanding of the growing gear shift needed across its entire value chain, to tackle the twin crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss.
- An overview of Scope 1,2,3 reporting – broken down by Scope and its overall performance.