In a ground-breaking move, The Lindley Group – the leisure caterer whose business now spans sports stadia, arts, heritage and visitor attraction sectors – has become one of the first contract caterers to become a fully fledged corporate member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).
Signing up to become an SRA member further reinforces The Lindley Group's commitment to evolving sustainable working practices, and it also marks a new era in the development of the SRA as the organisation launches a designated sustainability model specifically developed for the contract catering sector.
Established in 2010 initially to assist restaurants in becoming more sustainable and helping diners make more sustainable choices when dining out, the SRA assesses members in three key categories – Sourcing, Environment and Society – and provides a verified three star Sustainability Rating system based on a wide range of criteria covering 14 defined areas.
The Lindley Group, which through its two divisions – Lindley Venue Catering and Lindley Heritage - provides hospitality, catering and events services at 52 venues across the UK, has established a proactive approach to sustainability.
This was consolidated earlier this year with the appointment of Anna Standen - former General Manager with Elior UK based at the Stonehenge Café at Stonehenge Monument and a BSc Environmental Studies student - to the newly created post of Corporate & Social Responsibility Manager with the remit of developing a holistic approach to environmental, community, health & wellbeing policies across all aspects of the business.
With the support and advice provided by the SRA, The Lindley Group – which is also preparing for ISO 14001 Environmental Management System accreditation - is aiming to fine tune its current sustainability programme.
Jonathan Davies, The Lindley Group’s Sales & Marketing Director, says: “We’re pleased to be at the forefront of the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s move into the contract catering sector, and believe that their help and guidance will enable us to fast track a lot of the initiatives we already have underway whilst opening up new avenues for us to explore.
“We are well advanced in terms of sourcing local and seasonal produce wherever possible – for example, our five venues in Yorkshire, which include The Hepworth Wakefield, are members of deliciouslyorkshire, a regional group committed to local produce; and we serve Fairtrade beverages at a large number of our sites.
“We have also introduced a number of initiatives such as packaging up used coffee grounds at some sites to give away to customers to use as garden fertilizer, and we support local communities in a number of different ways. One such example is the reciprocal education and training programme we have developed with the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield and Kirklees College’s Catering, Travel & Tourism departments.
“As members of the SRA we welcome the opportunity to have the work we are undertaking in this area assessed and benchmarked against very specific criteria which we hope will lead to our sites becoming starred sustainability champions.”
Mark Linehan, Managing Director of the SRA, commented: “Having successfully established sustainability measures for individual restaurants and restaurant chains, we were keen to develop a model for measuring sustainability within the contract catering sector.
“But the complexity of the structure of the contract catering business and the multitude of different styles of outlet managed within a contract catering company or group meant that we needed to evolve our existing model to enable us to assess individual sites within the business as a whole.
“We have welcomed the opportunity to work with The Lindley Group as founder members of the new contract catering model, as the scope, scale and diversity of their business has provided us with valuable insights enabling us to provide a platform for effectively measuring sustainability within the contract catering environment.”