Supporting Local Communities

Supporting Local Communities

We seek to enrich our local communities in a variety of ways. In addition to creating jobs within our own operations, we support hundreds of thousands of livelihoods through our procurement choice. We aim to buy local and to champion social enterprises.

In the last year, our continued investment has been important for many food producers and small businesses. We also look for ways to use our skills and resources to support the local community: donating food, raising money for charities, and supporting groups who are driving positive change.

Choosing small, local and diverse suppliers

Small and medium-sized enterprise farmer working in field

We believe in the power of purpose-driven procurement. By sourcing locally, we not only maximise the nutritional value of the food we serve (produce begins to lose nutrients within 24 hours of being harvested), but we also reduce food miles travelled and enhance our ability to trace the ethical provenance and supply chain integrity of ingredients.

Donating food

As a food business, one of the most powerful ways that we can support our local communities is by providing meals. All around the world, we have formed partnerships with local projects, charities and organisations which pass on our surplus unsold food to the people who need it. In 2023, we donated circa 1.6 million meals to local communities across some of our largest markets.

The Compass Group Foundation

To aid us in our mission to improve people’s lives, Compass Group has established The Compass Group Foundation, to help us create job opportunities, empower local suppliers and provide urgent support during global emergencies.

In 2022, the Foundation made its first donation of £250,000 to the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. The Foundation also runs a pilot partnership with our offices in India, UK&I, France, USA, and Turkey to support communities through volunteering initiatives and funding non-profit organisations.

Visit the Foundation website

The Compass Group Foundation logo with a chef rolling up his sleeve behind

Case Studies

BIPOC farmers

Creating equity throughout our supply chain

Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) make up just 5% of all farmers in the United States, and Compass Group USA is taking a leadership role in supporting BIPOC farmers by using our purchasing power to support their growth.

This year, we expanded our BIPOC Farmer pilot programme to California. Already a success in North Carolina, where we have added new farms and increased purchasing from this community by 68% over the past year, the programme also supports the values we foster: sourcing fresh local produce and recognising diversity and inclusion in our suppliers.

Our chefs continue to innovate and create new recipes which allow us to incorporate more products from BIPOC producers throughout our operations.

Community garden project for veterans

The Defence, Marine and Aerospace sector of ESS, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, has established community garden projects on the sites where we operate, transforming available land into areas cultivated for growing ingredients.

At Brompton Barracks in Chatham, home to the Royal School of Military Engineering, veterans from the Royal Engineers Association help to look after the gardens and have provided great feedback on the mental health benefits associated with being part of the project. Local schools have also visited the site.

The produce grown is included in hospitality menus and is available for the site population to use. Food waste is reprocessed by over 75,000 worms generating compost. The site also houses 150,000 bees to promote biodiversity.

Community garden project

Community partnerships

We partner with a wide range of organisations that support people in our local communities. Some examples include:

  • In the UK, our procurement team have launched ‘Pitch Social’. Through this event, we celebrate the diversity within our supplier base and recognise businesses with a high social and environmental agenda. Local, SME and social enterprise suppliers are invited to meet with our business leaders, operators, and clients to learn more about their business, their products and their purpose
  • In the US, our Foodbuy team have created a programme to accelerate the growth of Women and Minority-Owned Enterprises. Suppliers selected to participate in our Accelerator Programme are assigned a dedicated Foodbuy mentor, who serves as their primary point of contact throughout the 12-month programme. During the first three months, suppliers are supported in creating development and activation plans, followed by nine months of execution and progress tracking
  • Helping job seekers build skills and confidence to become job ready in a supportive, practical environment through our partnership with BusyBeans in Australia
  • Funding over 250 clean drinking water projects around the world through our partnership with Drop4Drop in the UK & Ireland
  • Marking National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week in Australia through themed events that support and promote our indigenous suppliers

Enriching local communities

  • In Switzerland, we are supporting our local communities through a focus on sourcing from local farmers. One example is Patrick, who runs a multi-generational business employing members of his family and trainees from the local community. He regularly supplies our restaurants with potatoes so that our consumers can enjoy the very best quality, seasonal produce from the region.
  • In Italy, we support a project called 'No More Hunger: from emergency to autonomy', which provides underprivileged individuals with training and employment opportunities. This partnership is in conjunction with an NGO called ‘Terre des Hommes Italia’ which is committed to defending children’s rights.
  • In France, our chefs volunteer their time to deliver weekly cooking classes to young people with disabilities. They have teamed up with the Afuté Association, who help to train, support, identify and create opportunities for young people to access our industry and the world of work.
  • Across Australia, we continue to invest in social purpose partnerships, supporting several different organisations including OzHarvest, Social Traders, Stop Food Waste Australia (SFWA) and Supply Nation. As part of our latest Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), we are developing our supply chains to provide healthy food at an affordable price to remote First Nations communities.