Compass Group UK & Ireland has announced its commitment to reach Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions across its own operations and its value chain (GHG protocol Scope 1/2/3) by 2030. The UK’s largest foodservice 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 in line with the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) criteria.
The business, which serves three million customers a year in the UK, has become 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 ambitious levels of change, innovation, collaboration and investment in its business practices.
Compass UK&I’s climate Net Zero target is the foodservice industry’s first commitment to a climate net zero economy, with the company announcing changes at scale to ensure that sustainability is a core business objective across all services. They include the launch of a seed investment fund of £1 million to support the development of carbon reduction and sustainable food production innovation. The company is looking to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions of at least 55% by 2025 and at least 65% across its operations and value chain by 2030 from a 2019 baseline.
As well as driving significant reductions in its own operations, Compass UK&I will use its size and reach to influence clients, employees and suppliers – through Foodbuy, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help create a more sustainable food system. All new and existing clients will also be offered carbon neutral and carbon reduction offers.
Local and seasonal ingredients will be key. By 2030 there will be a 40% switch towards plant-based proteins, with an interim target of at least 25% by 2025. Moreover, 70% of the top 5 food categories (dairy and cheese, fruit and vegetables, pork, beef and chicken) is to be sourced from regenerative agriculture by 2030.
Recognising the impact of its supply chain and the role it has in influencing positive change across the food system, the food and support services company will 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.
In addition, the business is already working to remove all single-use plastic cutlery, expanded polystyrene (EPS) and unnecessary single-use plastic plates and bowls before July 2021. While all fleet cars will be 100% plug-in electric by May 2024.
In 2025 Compass UK&I will start compensating some of its carbon emissions with high quality UK-based carbon removal projects such as afforestation in rural and urban landscapes, and peatland rehabilitation. Once it has significantly reduced carbon emissions by 2030, it will evolve its programme from compensating to neutralising any remaining carbon emissions in line with the SBTi criteria. It would have then delivered its 2030 Net Zero target and would continue delivering such performance from there onwards.
In support of these goals, Compass UK&I has published Our Climate Promise and Roadmap to Net Zero, which together provide more detail on the philosophies and milestones it will champion in this decade. Compass UK&I’s science-based targets will be validated and published later this year.
Beyond climate, Compass UK&I is already engaged with the Science Based Targets Network on developing science-based targets (SBTs) for all aspects of nature including biodiversity, freshwater, land and ocean.
Robin Mills, MD, Compass Group UK&I said: “At Compass we are passionate about food and great services. 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. I couldn’t be more excited for the future of foodservice.”
Andrew Griffith MP, UK Net Zero Champion, said: “I’m delighted Compass Group UK&I has signed on to be part of the UN’s Race to Zero, as businesses have a central role to play in making a successful transition to a low carbon economy. Compass Group UK & I’s ambition is great news for the UK’s green recovery and I welcome its aim to help build a more sustainable food system. I hope other businesses across the sector follow in its footsteps and join the Race to Zero.”