News / News / Sustainability

A look back: Sustainability Seminar 2023

Seminar brochure

Environmental Sustainability Seminar brochure - October 2023

On Wednesday 11th October we held our second annual Environmental Sustainability Seminar.

The seminar created debate and showcased the best in class that exists within the hospitality sector across sustainability.

As the race to Net Zero intensifies, we continue to support the sector as it accelerates with efforts to become more sustainable. Initially working with Government to develop a roadmap to Net Zero for the sector, but more recently on the broader sustainability agenda to provide insight, support and guidance to operators, work remains ongoing in ensuring the sector continues to guide the way to a more sustainable future.

Zero Carbon Calculator

We revealed the success of our carbon calculator at the seminar, with nearly 5,000 hospitality venues beginning their net zero journey by using it.

The calculator, in partnership with Sky Zero and Zero Carbon Forum, has seen 375 companies operating across 4,738 sites understand their own emissions, and how to reduce them.

Here's what happened on the day

Welcome and Introduction

Kate Nicholls OBE, CEO UKHospitality

Kate opened the seminar by saying climate change is the greatest test of our time, we need to collaborate on this mission to deliver change – working with each other, with government and our consumers.

We need to celebrate success and to share what work and we need to identify where we are behind and address these shortcomings.

Session 1: The race to Net Zero

Chaired by Robyn Black, Head of Content, Fleet Street

Jerome Baddley, Director of Sustainability, Center Parcs

Jerome stated that we are lagging behind the public sector but are accelerating quickly. The future is electrification and the reliance on gas remains a huge challenge. Scope 3 is a huge piece of work, but our job is to make this better for guests.

Mark Chapman, CEO, Zero Carbon Forum

Mark stressed that as a sector we have made lots of progress but we have to go faster. He emphasised that we collaborate better than any other industry, and we will be at the front of this change.

Nick Wells, Head of Estates, Wells & Co

Nick said, “We have a hell of a journey to go on as a business and as an industry, and we need to learn the lessons from each other.”

Session 2: Industry trailblazers

Celia Gaze, Founder and CEO, The Wellbeing Farm

Celia said it was all about creating a purpose – that is what guests and teams are looking for. Purpose-led businesses are outgrowing non purpose led businesses; some bits of sustainability are really simple, like clear plastic bags.

Sustainability is the bedrock of our business.

Watch the session here.

Serena von der Heyde, Owner, Victorian House Hotel

Older properties aren’t necessarily the easiest to de-carbonise, Serena explained. Start with analysis and measurement, get assessed, understand what you can do and engage with your community and guests. Lean on aligned charities, universities and organisations that are there to help – like UKHospitality – and look at what grants are available.

Watch the session here.

Rachel Sprackett, Environmental Sustainability Manager, Whitbread

Rachel was excited to announce that an all electric Premier Inn was due to open in Swindon the following Monday. She spoke of Whitbread’s first transition plan to net zero, about reducing negative impact and driving positive change in our communities.

Watch the session here.

Charlotte Kitchener, Sustainability Lead, Robinsons

In 2014, Robinsons started working with Manchester University to put tools in place to support pubs – including the carbon calculator – and the importance of coaching and guiding colleagues in person.

Watch the sessions here.

Anthony Pender, Founder, Our Yummy Collection

Anthony is working with 26 coastal supplier businesses and have taken a longer-term view on property, utilities, heat efficiency and fit out. He spoke about the complexity of menu planning and the importance of recruitment to hospitality businesses.

Watch the session here.

Session 3: Working through the supply chain

Chaired by Jack Quick, Policy Manager, UKHospitality

Pete Statham, Head of Sustainability & Government Relations

Said he like most of us had seen a complete step change in the sustainability conversation, both volume and complexity, which was positive and spoke to the huge momentum behind the issue.  Training is key and Brakes are about to launch a programme for 1,000 colleagues all around the issue.

Amy Fry, Chief Adviser (Food Business Unit), National Farmers’ Union

Amy spoke about the importance of collaboration throughout the supply chain to be able to build a collective voice to embrace sustainability on across the chain.

Kate Macnamara, Corporate Affairs Director, Western Europe, Molson Coors

What is clear is that we can learn from each other. We have an awful lot to be proud of as an industry and we are making big strides

Session 4: Update on Government’s legislative and policy agenda on Resources and Waste

Dexter Davis, Deputy Director for Programme Delivery, Resources and Waste, Directorate, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

There is an enormous amount of complexity, and there is more coming our way in the shape of government-led interventions and initiatives – and there is much for our industry, led by UKHospitality, to work with them on.

Session 5: What next for sustainability in hospitality?

Carla Brian, Head of Partnerships, Biffa

Biffa are clearly driving solutions and are very involved in this journey, especially on driving down food waste.

85% of all recycled milk bottles of recycled materials have come through a Biffa recycling hub.

Watch the session here.

Jaz Rabadia MBE, Head of Responsible Business and Sustainability, Just Eat

Took us through some key projects at Just Eat – really interesting to hear about the impact of education, and how consumers understanding the carbon impact of dishes, affects their choices

Watch the session here.

Tim Doubleday, CFO, Burger King UK and Chair of the Sustainability Committee

As one of the biggest producers of carbon, the eyes of legislators are on us…and all stakeholders are engaged on this, although customers are not always obviously engaged, certainly not time of purchase.  We take that at face value, at our peril.

Watch the session here.

A final word

There was a huge appetite for collaboration, partnership, shared learning, and that we are all on this journey together and we need to work together and get there together.

Sustainability is a key pillar for UKHospitality and a key part of its strategy to help support and galvanise the industry, by facilitating events such as the seminar.

Thanks to Brakes for providing us with a sustainable menu featuring plant-forward dining, with a focus on reducing waste, responsible sourcing and with an eye on carbon reduction.

Let’s keep the conversation going.

Carbon calculator

UKHospitality, working with Sky Zero and the Zero Carbon Forum, is able to offer operators a carbon calculator to start their journey with a clear understanding of their emissions and actions to help reduce it.

Find out more herearrow icon

Watch: UKHospitality Environmental Sustainability Seminar Highlights

Thank you to all of our sponsors.

Molson Coors