Heathrow sets sustainability pledges for food and drink retailers

Heathrow Airport has set targets, including a 70 per cent food waste recycling rate, for all its food and beverage retailers as part of a new sustainable restaurant guide.

Drafted in partnership with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), ‘Ingredients for Success’ is designed to help the airport work towards a Responsible Heathrow 2020, which aims to ‘enhance local, regional and national, economic and social benefits of Heathrow in a sustainable way’.

The guide sets out sustainability target for all food and beverage retailers on the airport, focusing on six core areas: waste, water, energy, colleagues, community and customers.

As part of the sustainability commitment, Heathrow will also review the waste prevention and recycling communication tools and messaging with the food service community.

Additionally, the guide suggests that the airport retailers will reduce energy use by 10 per cent for every person served and implement a systematic approach to saving water.

Other targets include sustainable behaviour by employees, by encouraging Heathrow’s car sharing scheme to reduce car use, and retailers participating in the Heathrow Community fund, which strives to hire local people. The sixth core area will use the ‘Mystery Shopper’ auditing program to ensure that ‘sustainability is at the heart of the passenger experience’.

‘Ingredients for Success’ is part of the wider work of the Heathrow Sustainability partnership, a group of companies representing all sectors at the airport, from airlines and ground handlers to construction companies and retailers.

Waste at Heathrow

According to the ‘Ingredients for Success’ guide, Heathrow currently recycles 48 per cent of its 28,000 tonnes of waste every year, and is aiming to recycle 70 per cent by 2020. Of this waste, in 2015, a further 47 per cent was incinerated, and four per cent landfilled.

Waste across all of the airport’s terminals is managed within the terminals by the Heathrow Consolidation Centre (HCC), which can support the recycling of cardboard and collects waste cooking oil for recycling into biodiesel.

The guide asks its retailers to conduct audits of their waste streams to understand how it can be more effectively managed and allow reduction targets to be set. They are then asked to create reduction plans for both food and non-food waste, suggesting, measures such as serving drinks in reusable carafes, using packaging that can be sent back to producers and offering takeaway boxes.

Collaboration needed to ensure sustainability of 'small city'

Jonathan Coen, Retail Director at Heathrow, said: “Heathrow is a small city, hosting over 400 companies, 76,000 employees, and serving 190,000 passengers every day. An operation the size and scale of Heathrow relies on collaboration with our partners to ensure our sustainability ambitions are realised.

“As the UK’s first guide of its kind, ‘Ingredients for Success’ is a call to action for the food and beverages retailers who wish to join our airport on its journey to become the world’s most sustainable hub airport.”

Simon Hepper, Founding Director of SRA, added: “The public’s appetite for a sustainable dining experience is increasing significantly – wherever they are eating out. So for Heathrow to put sustainability at the heart of the passenger experience is a very welcome and positive move.”

The full ‘Ingredients for Success’ guide from the Heathrow website.