Bidvest Foodservice says it has doubled its community engagement outreach programme in the past year, spending 5,524 hours supporting more than 1,200 charity events and groups.
These latest figures form part of the foodservice wholesaler’s annual Sustainability Report, which launches today (September 22). Bidvest says the independently verified report highlights how the company is working with industry partners to drive sustainable change across hospitality, in terms of community engagement, health and wellbeing, responsible consumption, ethical business practices and communities.
Bidvest Foodservice’s partnership with One Water (pictured above) – the ethical bottled water brand that specialises in funding sustainable water projects in some of the world’s poorest countries – was a key part of its community engagement programme in 2016. Participating in The One Foundation Customer Insights incentive, Bidvest Foodservice set an ambitious target to increase its sales of One Water by more than 30% during 2015/16. In fact, the company went above and beyond, achieving a huge 136% sales increase. Since Bidvest Foodservice started supporting One Water nine years ago, it has raised over £130,000 to help fund One Foundation projects.
These funds have enabled the construction of 15 new water pumps in Malawi and Lesotho, along with the formation, training and provision of tools to 15 local groups to ensure they are maintained. The organisation has also rehabilitated 20 non-functional water pumps in vulnerable rural communities along with funding training for villagers to provide the knowledge and skills for on-going maintenance.
Earlier this year five Bidvest Foodservice employees visited Malawi, one of the world’s most densely populated and least developed countries, to see first-hand the projects that the One Foundation has helped to fund.
Speaking about the partnership with One Water, Shirley Duncalf, head of sustainability at Bidvest Foodservice, said: “Health and wellbeing, responsible consumption, ethical practices, sustainable communities and the desire to establish strong, meaningful partnerships are the foundation of our Sustainability Plan, and our work with One Water aligns perfectly with all of these goals.
“During the trip to Malawi, we were able to see for ourselves how the One Foundation projects that we have funded, ranging from water and sanitation programmes to pump repair training, have brought clean, safe water to over 35,000 people in Africa. We’re proud to support this amazing work and of our teams efforts to help fund these initiatives.”
In support of another charity, two employees took part in the Springboard trek to Peru in March 2016, raising vital funds for Springboard in the UK and then supporting remote villages to install solar panels to provide lighting for the village school. In the UK a number of employees also completed The Three Peaks challenge to raise sponsorship funds for Springboard, whilst the company itself has organised Supplier Golf Days and sponsored awards run by the charity.
Bidvest Foodservice has also signed up to the WRAP Courtauld Commitment and is continuing its support of the Dallaglio Foundation, Hospitality Action and at a depot level, local communities and community charities. Additionally, through its work with the Soil Association, the wholesaler has helped over 2,300 schools attain the Food for Life Catering Mark.
To access the entire Sustainability Report, visit http://www.plate2planet.co.uk/ about/bidvest-sustainability- reporting/