Corporations are losing the ability to “fudge the numbers” on climate policies, said Ketan Joshi, an Oslo-based climate analyst who tracks company climate pledges. “Companies are increasingly starting to understand that they’re losing their grip on the public relations hit of announcing a climate ambition and then doing nothing about it.”
— “The truth behind corporate climate pledges”, The Guardian, 2021
Corporate sustainability has turned into a mad dash to achieve ambitious goals, with more companies than ever pledging change. In their hurry to reduce environmental impact, one area overlooked is inside the walls of the office: down at the canteen. These facilities hold an incredible opportunity to support local, responsible food producers, promote resilient food systems and cut food waste.
Post-pandemic, businesses and their canteens are also looking to elevate employee meals with restaurant-like experiences using quality ingredients as a way retaining and attracting talent. However, finding reliable providers of local produce is challenging. Tracking the sustainability of procurement practices can be time-consuming. That is, without help.
At Dagens we repeatedly identify the same three things standing in the way of canteens hoping to meet these new standards:
- Lack of transparency: Through traditional logistics channels, chefs have little insight or control over the exact types of vegetables and meats purchased. Purchasing contracts may only guarantee ‘red apples’ with no regard to other details like production methods or origin.
- Brittle menus: A typical office canteen operates with a fixed menu rotation, no matter the season. Every fifth week is baked eggplant — why should we stop doing this just because it’s mid-winter?
- Invoice complexity: Buying from dozens of small, local farms and kitchens may lead to invoices from dozens of actors that need to be processed and handled by operations. Auditing the sustainability of products procured (for example, the percentage of organic food by weight) becomes a paperwork adventure.
Many of these shortcomings of the traditional system for sourcing produce are due to wholesaler logistics. Demands for uniformity and out-of-season access leads to enormous amounts of food waste and lower quality produce overall.
The Dagens system for direct trade cuts warehousing out of the picture while at the same time making information including produce origins, farming methodology and details about the people behind the products transparent. Ingredients spend, on average, fewer days sitting in storage; they come from a greater variety of places, and they support more meaningful crop diversity in the local environment.
Exploring order histories has never been easier with the help of the Dagens Trade Report, a dashboard with out-of-the-box metrics and charts that offer key facts. Businesses can quickly identify areas where they can improve their sustainability efforts.
Tracking sustainability in purchasing often means consolidating heaps of data from many channels. This is especially difficult when dealing with dozens of independent farms and producers. The Dagens Trade Report provides all of that data in one place. We know this saves kitchens time and effort that would otherwise be spent sifting through invoices or communicating with suppliers to gather documents needed for reporting to management or sustainability-certifying authorities.
“I think the information provided by the report is valuable and it is great to see it all in black and white… it gives us a road map for being able to clearly analyze and promote a sustainable strategy moving forward. In addition, it helps us with our reporting in general, as well as enhancing our profile regarding stewardship of the environment and supporting small and independent producers.”
— Karl MacEwan, Executive Chef at ASIA Aker Brygge
We see the Trade Report as a serious competitive advantage for commercial kitchens of all sizes looking to make informed decisions about their food procurement practices. The dashboards are easily shareable with anyone, making it simple to share data with stakeholders who need it. This helps businesses maintain transparency and accountability, an essential for building trust with customers, investors and, of course, the people eating the food.
Are you already trading through Dagens? Find your Trade Report on the Profile page.