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.
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.
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 2022, we donated circa 1.3 million meals to local communities across some of our largest markets.
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.
We partner with a wide range of organisations that support people in our local communities. Some examples include: