Specialist contract caterer The Brookwood Partnership has become the first schools’ caterer to receive three stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) – an accreditation that The Sunday Times has likened to the “Michelin stars of sustainability”.
Assessing Brookwood’s sustainable and social activities, the SRA gave the caterer a total score of 70 per cent, having scored 100 per cent in healthy eating, 99 per cent in community involvement and 90 per cent in waste management. Marked across three elements of sustainability, Brookwood was given 97 per cent in ‘society’, 67 per cent in ‘environment’ and 57 per cent in ‘sourcing’.
Areas that helped Brookwood achieve the top level rating included their commitment to reducing plate waste. In recent years, their ‘Wasteless’ initiative has helped to reduce plate waste by 47 per cent.
A focus on using local suppliers for specific produce helped the caterer score well in the sourcing category. Kent-based sites use a local farm for vegetables. A pork farm in Stamford is used for the supply of pork. Garden leaves are purchased from a farm in Surrey. Local dairies are used throughout the business for the supply of milk and cheese and all meat bought is from Britain, with the exception of New Zealand lamb.
Employees from across the business have also raised more than £120,000 for charity, which supported the score of 97 per cent in the ‘society’ category. Fundraising has helped to build a school in one of Africa’s poorest communities, support unemployed and disadvantaged people and sponsor several breakfast clubs across the UK.
Mark Linehan, managing director of the SRA, said: “Enabling schoolchildren to eat healthy, well-sourced food sets a standard which we believe will set them up for the rest of their lives, as healthy adults equipped to make responsible decisions about what and where they eat. So we applaud The Brookwood Partnership for setting an example for all school caterers and look forward to working with them to build on this very impressive start.”
Kate Martin, managing partner of The Brookwood Partnership, said: “Producing the amount of fresh meals we provide each school day is no mean feat and we continually look at ways to reduce any negative effect our work has on the environment. It is with great pride that we have been awarded this accreditation and in being the first schools’ caterer. I am continually proud of the lengths our teams go to each day in order to help protect the environment and give something back to others.”