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Olympia London reduces food waste by 17% 

Recognising one of the biggest sustainability challenges with over 1/3 of all food produced going to waste according to the UN, Olympia London decided to extend its efforts to tackle the issue. 

An event industry sustainability leader, the venue has sent zero waste to landfill for well over a decade by recycling more than 98% and converting the rest fuel. However, the London landmark spotted opportunities to further reduce surplus with the ambition to completely eradicate food waste from the menu. 

To help with this goal, Olympia London partnered with WRAP in the national campaign ‘Guardians of Grub’ to track food waste onsite by measuring spoilage, preparation, inedible and plate waste.

Olympia London encouraged employees to measure their own food waste and shared helpful tips on portion control, using a single ingredient to create multiple dishes, smarter grocery shopping and reutilising leftovers and trimmings; all shared via the venue’s internal communications channels.

Motivating event organisers and getting them involved before the shows was crucial to implement the campaign. Working with each participating organiser, the venue also compared previous events’ statistics to map target areas and create a tailored solution whenever possible.

Releasing the case study this month, Olympia London shared inspiring results: in 2018 it collected 43 tonnes of food waste but, after four initial months of campaign from September‐December last year, the venue reduced its total by 17% with 35.5 tonnes reported in 2019.

Eleanor Morris, Sector Specialist Hospitality & Food Service WRAP, said: “This is a fantastic achievement by Olympia London, and we are delighted that our Guardians of Grub campaign helped support this important drive. Olympia London has shown that by raising awareness of food waste, and tackling the problem in a measured and holistic way, we can stop good food going to waste. This programme has been a great success both for the benefit of the participating businesses, for the environment, and in showing the public that there is no place for food waste at any Olympia London event.”

Supported by an increasingly larger numbers of organisers interested in the topic, the venue will continue its food waste programme in 2020, expecting to report further reductions in due course.  Abbey Short, Catering Manager at Olympia London, said: “We will not give up. Each area of our business is different so we have to adapt the way we measure to suit each operation, ensuring we capture all stats. We will continue to engage with our customers, visitors and colleagues to understand behaviours around food waste, and work collaboratively until we can say ‘we are a zero‐food waste venue’ in addition to zero to landfill”.

To read full case study, including participating events, internal initiatives and service partners actions, please click here.