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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

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.

Partnering with others to benefit the community

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

  • Helping job seekers build skills and capacity to become job ready in a supportive, practical environment with BusyBeans in Australia
  • Funding 250 clean drinking water projects around the world through the Drop4Drop initiative in the UK & Ireland
  • Marking National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week in Australia through themed events with indigenous suppliers



In 2021, we donated circa 1.3 million meals to local communities across some of our largest markets. Here's some of the highlights:
  • UK & Ireland: We have been donating unsold food to FareShare since 2014 who pass it on to local charities. We also donate food through apps including Plan Zheroes, Too Good To Go and Olio. In 2021 we donated more than 250,000 surplus meals.
  • USA: We donated more than 950,000 surplus meals to our local communities by working with organisations like chefs to end hunger, Goodr and Feeding America.
  • Canada: We have a close relationship with Food Banks Canada, the country’s leading food security charity, and FoodRescue.ca, an online networking platform for food donors and recipients. Through these two partners, we donated 88,669 surplus meals to local communities. 

Creating equity throughout our supply chain

Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) make up just 5% of all farmers in the United States. The lack of diversity in farming has created lasting repercussions on the food system and communities of color. Compass Group is taking a leadership role in supporting BIPOC farmers by using our purchasing power to ensure they are successful.

Compass Group and Foodbuy heard directly from local BIPOC farmers that they needed support in keeping their farms profitable during a meeting facilitated by The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), a partnership between North Carolina State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

With our numerous operations throughout North Carolina, Compass Group and Foodbuy developed a pilot program with the help of produce supplier FreshPoint, where our chefs integrate the produce grown by the state’s BIPOC farmers into their menus during the spring and summer of 2021.

From June to October, Compass Group chefs purchased squash, zucchini, and cucumbers produced by Donald Hines, and unique heirloom varieties tomatoes, sweet potatoes, berries, and okra from Millard and Connie Locklear.

Hines Family Farms began with Donald Hines’ greatgrandfather more than 100 years ago. He and his wife bought 624 acres of woodland and with the help of their 13 children, they transformed it to what is known today as Hinestown. Donald Hines grew up tending to livestock, planting, harvesting and shelling beans on his grandmother’s porch.

Donald now combines modern and traditional techniques to continue his family’s rich farming history. After a 33-year career in law enforcement and as an FBI Special Agent, he prepared to return to the farm by attending seminars at North Carolina State, North Carolina A&T and Tuskegee University. He volunteered on large-scale farms to learn about crop production and crop science.

Millard and Connie Locklear have deep roots connecting them with their farmland in Pembroke, NC. They are the fifth generation of Locklears to farm the land and maintain the cultural traditions of the Lumbee Tribe. Preserving the past and embracing the future are tenants Millard and Connie live by. They continue to use seeds from their ancestors by collecting seeds from the mature crop every year. They plant heirloom seed varieties and are transitioning the farm to be certified organic.

“It is absolutely imperative that we do everything we can to support local farmers on every level. We are in a position of responsibility to share our strengths in promoting the livelihood of Black, Indigenous, and people of colour in the farming industry, which in itself is a very challenging endeavor. This collaboration is wonderful,” says Eurest Executive Chef Philip Lloyd.

We are encouraged by the success of this pilot. Compass Group chefs continue to innovate and create new recipes to incorporate more and more products as the seasons (and ingredients) change. In order to keep farmers of colour on their land and help new BIPOC farmers become successful, the food they grow must be profitable.

Driving Social Procurement

Across our global supply chains, we proactively support social enterprises – businesses which reinvest at least 50% of their profits into a social or environmental mission.

In 2019, our procurement business Foodbuy UK & Ireland joined the Buy Social Corporate Challenge, followed by Compass Group UK & Ireland in 2020. This initiative supports a group of high-profile businesses to collectively spend £1 billion with social enterprises through their procurement.

Despite the pandemic, the Challenge saw record levels of trade between corporate buyers and social enterprises in the UK. Since joining the Buy Social Corporate Challenge we have spent £4.9 million with over 20 UK social enterprises. Our leadership in this area was recognised at the Footprint Awards, where Foodbuy UK & Ireland, won the ‘Social Impact and Diversity’ award in 2020.

We are now building relationships with organisations around the globe with the intention of replicating the successful UK model. In Europe, we are working alongside SAP and Zurich Insurance Group as part of a new social procurement pilot scheme which aims to make it easier for corporations to engage with social enterprise suppliers across the whole of the EU and Switzerland.

Supported by Social Enterprise UK, we are using our collective purchasing power to open up our supply chains to European social enterprises in an effort to contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable post-COVID recovery. In addition, we have partnered with Social Enterprise Netherlands and Social Entrepreneurship Network Deutschland to gain a further understanding of social procurement in these markets.

Our Foodbuy Australia team have formed a three-year strategic partnership with Social Traders, helping to broker relationships with social enterprises across the country.