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Environmental Game Changers

As a leading food service business, we focus on where we can have the biggest positive impact on the global food system and the environment.

2020 Highlights

  • We donated more than 1,100 tonnes of food in 2020. As well as avoiding food waste, this provided the equivalent of more than two million meals for people in our local communities.
  • Introduced and promoted more plant-forward dishes through chef training programmes.
  • Introduced reusable meal containers in several markets to help reduce use of single-use plastics
  • Won a SEAL Environmental Initiative Award for our Carbon Foodprint tool, used to reduce carbon emissions in kitchens in the USA.

Food Waste

Food waste is one of our top priorities across sustainability and we work hard to reduce this across our business. According to the UN, each year, an estimated one-third of all food produced ends up going to waste. In 2020, as COVID-19 spread around the world, we acted quickly to donate significant quantities of surplus food to those in need. Our larger markets collectively donated more than 1,100 tonnes of food, equivalent to over two million meals.  

Our food waste strategy focuses on prevention, inspiring to waste less, and recovery to divert surplus food.


p32-icon-1 final to reduce the amount of food waste that goes unsold/uneaten


p32-icon-2 final consumers to waste less (through Stop Food Waste Day)


p32-icon-3 final to donate surplus food to people in need, and recycling to divert food waste from landfill


We continue to invest in metering technology, such as Winnow, to help our kitchen teams measure, monitor and reduce food waste. We now use the system in over 200 sites in nine countries. In the year ahead, we intend to introduce measurement technology solutions to more of our sites across the globe.


We continued with our annual engagement event, Stop Food Waste Day™.

High profile social media engagements included the World Wildlife Fund, FAO, The Vegan Society, Danielle Nierenberg (Food Tank), Silverstone and Google UK, generating 2,500 tweets in a single day. Despite the pandemic, 12 North American cities and two US states declared 29 April as Stop Food Waste Day.


We work with online food redistribution charities, as well as local charities and community groups, to help our sites donate surplus food.

Single-Use Plastics 

Due to employee and consumer concerns regarding hygiene and safety, demand for disposables has increased during the pandemic. Despite this, we remain committed to eliminating unnecessary single-use plastics in the long term. Where plastic is still used, we encourage the adoption of plastics that can be easily recycled.

Plant-Based Goes Mainstream

Flexitarianism, or eating fewer animal products, is on the rise, for health, environmental and ethical reasons. According to The Vegan Society, just under half of all UK consumers will be flexitarians by 2025. We are taking action to meet consumer demand for more plant-based meals. We are offering our consumers more plant-based choices and meat alternatives. We are serving more vegan options, and our chefs are creating delicious recipes based around vegetables and legumes all around the world.

Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions 

We recognise the role we have to play in limiting our impact on the environment. Alongside reducing food waste, and increasing plant-based meals across our business, we are preparing to set a ‘Science BasedTarget’ to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of our operations, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 C degrees. For information about our climate change and water reporting and strategy, view our Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)reports.

Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2020 2019 2018
  UK and Offshore Global Global Global
Scope 1 - Emissions from the combustion of fuel or the operation of any facility including fugitive emissions from refrigerants use / tCO2e 5,912 106,047 174,627 129,516
Scope 2 - Emissions resulting from the purchase of electricity, heat, steam or cooling (location based) / tCO2e 3,300 39,703 45,875 8,095
Total gross emissions / tCO2e 9,212 145,750 220,502 137,611
tCO2e per million £ turnover 6.1 7.5 9.1 6.3
Energy consumption used to calculate above emissions /kWh 41,968,394
556,869,904 NA NA
Energy consumption /kWh per million £ turnover NA 28,487 NA NA

Compass Group's disclosure in accordance with the Companies Act 2006 (Strategic and Directors's reports) Regulations 2013 is stated in the table above.

To calculate our Group emissions, we have used the main requirements of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard along with the UK Government GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting 2019. This year, we expanded our reporting boundaries to include two additional countries, representing in total 97% of Group revenues, compared to 96% in 2019. The scope and methodology of our reporting changed in 2019, therefore 2018 data is not comparable on a like for like basis. 

In the majority of our locations where we are not directly responsible for the procurement of utilities, equipment, fuel etc, we are working closely with our clients to consider how best to improve the environmental performance of our operations.

We use a web based reporting system which provides a ‘one stop shop’ for countries to report progress against their non-financial KPIs, including environmental performance. The benefits to our business of deploying such a system include improving accuracy of data, and the ability to track our progress against targets.

Data verification - As in previous years, we have engaged our environmental partners Eco Act Ltd, to provide limited verification of our 2019-2020 GHG emissions-related data, calculation and greenhouse assertion, using the relevant requirements of the ISO 14064-3:2006 standard. View our GHG verification statement here.

Case studies

Waste Not 2.0 in the USA

In the USA, we joined the US Food Loss and Waste Champions to help us meet our goal to halve food waste by 2030. We expanded our proprietary, cloud-based waste tracking programme, Waste Not™ 2.0 to all Compass sectors in the USA, helping make it easier for our chefs to track and reduce waste. Our people use tablets to report why products are wasted, how much is going to waste and the destination of that waste. The real time data is helping us to identify opportunities to prevent and reduce waste. The programme has driven behaviour change in more than 3,000 Compass chefs and colleagues and, from 2019 to 2020, sites using it have reduced food waste by 12%. One client, Snap Inc. more than halved its food waste in a year:

“I always knew we should and could be
tracking waste but was overwhelmed at how
to do it. This programme made it so easy!”
Snap Inc.’s General Manager John Leone.

Google and Compass - a winning combination in carbon emissions reduction

Over the last three years Compass has been supporting Google to reduce the carbon emissions of the food served through plant-forward innovations. Training our culinary teams to make delicious plant-forward food has helped shrink carbon emissions. With Google’s support, SEED (skills, enrichment, evolution and development) was created: a multi-tiered training programme to expand the teams’ plant-forward culinary skills and increase awareness of the impact of plant-forward eating on the health of both the planet and people. Approximately 180 participants graduated, from sous chef to culinary director. 

Compass Group and Google also partnered with Arizona State University’s (ASU) Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems to refine an introductory version of the curriculum and provide graduates with ASU certificates. 

More than one third of surveyed graduates generated six to 10 new menu ideas as a result of the course and nearly one third said they generated more than 10. 

Chefs have adopted a flip/blend/swap approach. These experts ‘flip’ the traditional portions of meat and vegetables, giving meat a smaller role on the plate; ‘blend’ meat with vegetables for items like burgers, meatballs and meatloaf; and ‘swap’ traditional meat items for plant-based alternatives

Using choice architecture, plant-forward options are presented so they are more likely to be chosen, for example, by ensuring they are in the best line of sight, have tempting dish titles or are positioned at the front of a well-lit counter, or at an interactive chef’s station.

“Google’s bold leadership in reducing
greenhouse gas emissions, combined
with Compass Group’s growing mastery at
preparing plant-forward foods, provide
a great collaboration for tackling climate
change, one delicious meal at a time.”
Jonathan Kaplan, Global Sustainability
Director for Compass Group at Google.

Helping customers meet their sustainability goals with ‘Carbon Foodprint’

Healthy vegetarian and vegan cooking and eating with seasonal organic vegetables. Clean food concept. Pot with beetroot and spoon on table background with ingredients, top view, flat lay

Carbon Foodprint is Compass USA’s online environmental dashboard, enabling us to provide clients with costeffective solutions to lower the environmental impact of food service. Our Carbon Foodprint toolkit tracks data needed to reduce energy, water, and waste in the kitchen, while identifying opportunities for chefs to re-engineer their menus to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

A monthly report communicates results to the client, associates, and guests. Users can help their clients track progress towards Science-Based Targets and other reporting (such as CDP). In 2019, Carbon Foodprint helped users to reduce enough red meat to avoid over 52,000 lbs. of CO2e, and reduce their water use by 41,000 gallons.

“Sustainability is integral to the culture of Compass and we want to help our clients excel in all areas,” explains Julia Jordan, Director of Sustainability, Compass USA. “The Carbon Foodprint programme makes it easy to monitor and measure the impact of clients’ sustainability programmes and several clients have won awards for their efforts.”

Our award-winning ‘Single-Use Plastics Guide’

In the UK, our ‘Single-Use Plastics Guide’ makes it easy for sites to tackle single-use plastics commonly used in food service. Regularly updated, the Guide is already on its fourth edition, and was awarded ‘Best Waste Prevention Project Award (Food)’ at Footprint’s waste2zero Awards 2019.

In the past year alone, the Guide has helped to remove 30 million plastic cups and 29 million plastic cutlery items from the UK business. We also run conferences with clients across the UK to share best practice.

“We have decided to focus on educating both our people and clients on what steps can be taken to make a difference,” explains Celena Fernandez, Head of Environment at Compass Group UK & Ireland. “It’s really important we don’t make knee jerk decisions that result in alternatives being introduced that are more damaging to the environment. We are really proud of what we have achieved so far and remain focused on continuing to address this issue.”

Environmental Policy Statement