Zero Carbon Forum — Sustainable future for hospitality
The panel session moderated by Zero Carbon Forum’s Mark Chapman didn’t hold any punches and gave a lot to think about.
There was a lot of good things in this conversation, including the importance of telling stories to inspire people (yes, that was music to my ears!) — in fact the phrase “Storytelling for Impact” was mentioned, and I think that’s going to be my new tag-line … Well, That’s Interesting Tech — storytelling for impact. Yes, sold. Anyway…
Given that the topic was themed on hospitality, the challenges of finding staff was sure to come up, and it did. Interestingly, and following the point I’ve made on several occasions, one of the ways companies are finding to retain and attract staff is to try to make their rolls more purposeful.
However, as Tim Grant (Caffeine Collective) pointed out, that can be a challenge for kitchen porter and barrister roles. Sarah Bentley (Made In Hackney) said that they’d had great progress in retention from having one pay-grade across the business. Although after eight years they added a second grade to recognise the additional effort and mental capacity required from team leaders.
Perhaps the two most powerful head-nodding moments came from Sarah. The first point she made that nearly made me stand up and clap was that switching to sustainable packaging or “doing something with algae” is all very well, but until we concentrate on lift all our people out of poverty, we simply won’t change a thing.
The second punch-the-air moment came when the panel was discussing how to convince consumers to spend more on sustainable options, even in times of financial difficulty.
There was much discussion around the power of hospitality to persuade people, and even the premium hospitality can charge just because you are somewhere different (such as the mark-up on wine that restaurants charge).
Sarah, thankfully, gave a different perspective. She suggested that it was in the power of hospitality to invert the green premium (e.g. sustainable products that cost more) and make the sustainable option not just a better sustainability decision, but a better financial decision too — e.g lower priced than the less sustainable choice.
This is a point I’ve made before too — Since human habits can be difficult to change, increase pricing on the less sustainable choices to fund price reductions on this more sustainable. This could be a relatively short term intervention because over time, the more sustainable will drop in price as demand and volume rises [continues]