The Importance of Sustainable Catering for Corporate Events


Corporate events, such as conferences, trade shows, and product launches, often involve a large number of attendees and significant resources. While these events are essential for businesses to network and promote their brands, they can also have a significant impact on the environment. Sustainable catering is an approach that minimises the environmental impact of corporate events while providing delicious and healthy food for guests. Today, we will discuss the importance of sustainable catering for corporate events and how it can benefit businesses, guests, and the environment.

First things first: What is sustainable catering?

Before we explain sustainable catering, let’s first try to understand what exactly sustainability means. According to the 1987 Bruntland Commission Report, sustainable development is the “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Sustainability goes beyond mere lip service. It’s about balancing social, economic, and ecological concerns to improve the life quality of every being on Earth (and yes, that includes the polar bears).

To say that human and ecological disasters are growing at an alarming pace would be a huge understatement, and so, if businesses want to at least limit that rapid growth, they have to put the well-being of their employees and the environment ahead of their own bottom lines.

The question, then, becomes: what does sustainability mean to the catering companies of Sydney?

For one, sustainable catering entails doing as little harm as possible to the environment while still delivering amazing food for guests. To achieve this, sustainable caterers adopt eco-friendly business practices, such as using locally sourced ingredients, minimising packaging, and composting and recycling waste.

They eagerly dive in, ready to make a positive impact on their local community, whether it’s volunteering at food drives, offering their services pro bono for community groups or offering work placement opportunities to those that need it.

Carbon emissions, plastic pollution, food waste, and unethical sourcing are all factors that can negatively affect the health of both customers and employees – and sustainable catering acknowledges this.

Let’s examine the four components that make up sustainable catering:

Carbon emissions

Corporate events often involve transportation, which emits carbon dioxide. This includes both transportation for attendees and transportation for catering equipment and supplies.

The world’s food system is broken, and Sydney caterers must step up to help fix it. The agriculture, food production, distribution, and retail sectors collectively constitute the food system, which emits a greater amount of greenhouse gases compared to all other sectors except for energy. According to the National Food Strategy, it is responsible for 25–30% of global emissions: a tally that dwarfs, say, the 3.5% contributed by air travel.”

Environmentally-conscious caterers, like Boardwalk Catering, do their part to reduce their impact on the environment by selecting ingredients that have been grown with care, which includes but is not limited to: high welfare standards, avoiding industrially farmed food, paying farmers a fair price, and selecting food that has had a small impact on natural resources and the environment.

Seasonality is essential for any sustainable caterer. Seasonal ingredients grow naturally with the seasons and therefore need fewer intensive methods to farm it. Just consider the additional carbon footprint from artificial lighting, heating, and refrigerated storage to deliver strawberries in Winter. Plus, seasonal ingredients simply taste better.

If a catering company cares enough to protect our beautiful globe for generations to come, they create menus that are locally sourced. This means not only fresher ingredients but also substantially reduced food miles. After all, why fly in asparagus from another continent when it can be grown on a farm just a few kilometres away?

Food prepared with care also has the ability to fill people with energy, joy, and good health. The job of sustainable caterers is to maintain their clients’ nutritional balance and encourage healthy eating habits by providing healthy snack alternatives.

Plastic pollution

Although convenient, cheap, hygienic, and single-use plastics come at a higher cost to the world’s oceans and environment. Cutting prices may be appealing, but a sustainable caterer will seek out less harmful alternatives for the environment. Since the 1950s, a staggering 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced on a global scale. Without immediate measures to reduce consumption, this figure is projected to skyrocket to 34 billion tonnes by 2050. Unfortunately, a significant portion of this plastic is expected to either accumulate in landfills or contaminate the Earth’s continents and oceans, posing a severe environmental threat.

By encouraging employees to dine at the lunch table with ceramic plates and metal cutlery, corporate caterers can offer added value to the workplace culture. Employees return to their office energised and more productive after their lunch break.

This has the dual benefit of making employees happier and ensuring the sustainability of business operations. There is no need for disposable items such as plates, forks, knives, straws, water bottles, or takeout containers. All around, good vibes during mealtime!

Food waste

For a sustainable caterer, nothing is more disheartening than throwing away food that could still be eaten. The food service industry as a whole has a serious problem with excessive food waste. One option for businesses to lessen food waste is to redistribute surplus food. This not only keeps more of the food that is produced from going to waste, but it also keeps more people from going hungry.

Sustainable caterers can help organisations like OzHarvest and Foodbank NSW & ACT by donating leftover food.

The efficiency with which food is used can be vastly improved with the careful consideration of headcount while calculating food quantity. That said, one of the most efficient methods is to work with a catering company that is enthusiastic and takes the initiative to minimise food waste at all stages of the service process.

Ethical sourcing

Food sourced at the expense of the welfare of others always has a nasty aftertaste. Consumers are more concerned than ever about where their food comes from – the reason being an understanding of the impact of climate change and of the challenges workers and farmers have encountered. 

Sustainable caterers examine their supplier networks thoroughly, and they aren’t scared to ask their suppliers tough questions about how they handle issues like labour treatment and environmental impact. They embrace their purchasing power without fear, leveraging it to champion the fight against modern slavery and support fair trade, decent wages, and direct trade.

Another way that caterers verify the legitimacy of suppliers is by looking at their accreditations. Some noteworthy examples include The Planet MarkGuardians of GrubFairtrade Foundation and Safe Food Queensland.

Final Thoughts

Sustainable catering is an important aspect of corporate event planning that can benefit businesses, guests, and the environment. By implementing sustainable catering practices, businesses can reduce their environmental impact, improve their brand image, and provide healthier food options for attendees. Although there are challenges to implementing sustainable practices, businesses can take steps to overcome these obstacles and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Boardwalk Catering is a prime example of a catering company that not only recognises the significance of sustainable catering but also excels in delivering delicious and premium services. With a strong commitment to environmental responsibility, Boardwalk Catering ensures that every aspect of their operations is aligned with sustainability principles. From sourcing local and organic ingredients to minimising food waste through careful planning and innovative techniques, they prioritise eco-conscious practices without compromising on taste or quality. By choosing Boardwalk Catering, Sydney businesses can not only enjoy delicious cuisine but also take pride in supporting a catering service that shares their values and contributes to a greener, more sustainable future.