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Opinion: Sustainability in the supply chain is key to achieving targets

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Unox’s EmiXion 2030 sustainability strategy includes the cooking equipment manufacturer using electric vehicles.

Scott Duncan, MD of Unox UK, explores the importance of sustainability in the foodservice equipment industry and some of the ways in which the cooking equipment manufacturer is reducing its own carbon footprint:

We’ve all seen the headlines. From fires in Australia and Greece, to deadly floods in central Europe and record temperatures in the Mediterranean, human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented ways. It’s time for change.

COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference set to be held in Glasgow in November, will shine the spotlight on sustainability, bringing parties together to accelerate action. The emphasis now is on governments, businesses and consumers worldwide to all play their part in driving sustainability to help keep global temperature rises below 1.5˚C. Here in the UK, of course, we have a target to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

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Our industry has a large part to play in this. The food industry as a whole consumes around 30% of the world’s available energy, while one study by The University of Reading back in 2013 showed that 63% of an average pub’s electricity consumption was attributed to catering. Whatever the exact numbers today, it’s clear that commercial kitchens are profligate users of gas, electricity and water.

All of this means that sustainability is now front of mind for any catering organisation. As awareness of environmental issues continues to grow, operators and caterers are faced with greater scrutiny from consumers and the government to reduce their waste, improve resource efficiency and deliver a more sustainable service.

Improvements can be made across every organisation, from lighting and heating to single-use plastic and lower energy kitchen equipment. Manufacturers have responded of course, and Unox is among those offering more sustainable solutions, including Energy Star-certified appliances.

However, sustainable performance in 2021 goes beyond purchasing energy efficient products or switching the paper straws. If we are to collectively achieve the ambitious targets being set, it is vital for organisations to demonstrate sustainability throughout their supply chain too, by working with suppliers who are committed to reducing their own emissions across the business.

That’s why Unox has launched EmiXion 2030, a new multi-million-pound plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions across the global business by 2030. Our strategy includes a series of initiatives including the introduction of electric vehicles, biogas trucks and on-site renewable energy generation.

Plans are underway to extend the existing Unox factory in Padova, Italy, with a state-of-the-art facility run on clean energy, including the installation of geothermic heat pumps and solar panels. By 2030 the business is hoping to produce 3.75MWh of electricity per year with solar panels. We are also moving to a new green office facility in the UK in early 2022.

We are recognising the steps we need to take to deliver significant change – and in doing so, helping to deliver more a sustainable supply chain for those who invest in and use foodservice equipment. Because sustainability isn’t something that can be ignored.

Tags : environmentally-friendlyopinionsustainabilityUnox
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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