“Change champions” to showcase plans for a more sustainable future for the hospitality industry

Merseyside SME founders stand for photo. Left to right:  Lauren Wright, Vicky Gawith, Nicola Roberts, Amy Yarker, David Fay, Ashwini Kelkar, Sam Patterson, Hannah Todd, Jacqui Jackson, Louise Kissack © Jonathan Keenan
Lauren Wright, Vicky Gawith, Nicola Roberts, Amy Yarker, David Fay, Ashwini Kelkar, Sam Patterson, Hannah Todd, Jacqui Jackson, Louise Kissack

Independent Merseyside businesses have come together to tackle sustainability in the hospitality industry and will showcase their work at a symposium in November.

Dubbed “Change Champions”, the group of SMEs joined Lancaster University’s Eco-I NW Innovation Catalyst creating a taskforce to drive positive change in their industry and reimagine a more sustainable future for hospitality.

Local SMEs, including the Liverpool Food Network, Picnic, CHIP’D, The Fermentation Station, Fuel 10K, The Interesting Eating Company, MerseyMade, Born to Bake and TPFay, have been working with Lancaster University researchers and industry experts to investigate how they can take positive actions which allow businesses to become more sustainable, both now and in the future.

The group’s work will be showcased at John Moores University on Thursday 3 November as part of an Innovation Catalyst Symposium and Networking Event.

The next steps will see the Innovation Catalyst members looking to connect with other likeminded SMEs and engage local academic, research, funding and policymaker communities to support their proposals on the next stage of their journey.

Nicola Roberts, Innovation Catalyst project manager from Lancaster University, said: “This group of local businesses are passionate about reducing their impact on the planet.

“They know this is the right thing to do for their customers, their teams and their future and with the help of our researchers – and the external experts we have brought in to give their valuable advice – they have been able to gather the data they need to support their plans for the future.”

The taskforce has worked in partnership with a number of local stakeholders to understand the feasibility of making changes at SME level with support from Veolia, Too Good To Go, Freshwaste, The Food Standards Agency and The 2030 Hub.

Louise Kissack, Liverpool Food Network founder and taskforce member, added: “We all have a desire to do the right thing, but it’s not always easy. Many of our members find that sustainable solutions add cost and complications to their business, and as a group we want to change that.

“It’s estimated that a wheelie bin of food waste costs businesses around £150 in sunk costs and waste disposal, so empowering hospitality and catering businesses to reduce food waste will help them save money, and the environment. Doing the right thing should be easy, affordable and rewarding for small businesses.”

Amy Yarker, Fermentation Station founder, said: “It’s up to us as independents to drive this change in our industry, and across our region.

“But doing the right thing for our planet shouldn’t cost the earth. We want to make sustainable solutions affordable and accessible for SMEs in our industry, and to grow a community who really care about making a difference.”

The Innovation Catalyst is funded through European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and forms part of Eco-I North West, a £14m project led by The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation at Lancaster University.

Free tickets for the symposium can be pre-booked on Eventbrite.

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