The man tasked with making Costa Coffee a more sustainable business has revealed that improved engagement between his team and the group’s procurement department is changing the way it goes about specifying new equipment.
Oliver Rosevear, the coffee chain’s head of environment, says there is a growing awareness within the business that decisions on new equipment and solutions need to be taken with energy savings in mind.
With in excess of 2,000 stores, the Coca-Cola-owned chain is in a position to be able to significantly gain from incremental improvements in energy consumption.
Mr Rosevear said the ultimate goal when choosing any equipment was how to solve a business case, but he added that there was now greater acknowledgement internally that it is also about becoming commercially sustainable.
He explained: “Rather than saying ‘it’s the right thing to do,’ we’ve taken the view of how to try and balance the business but also do the right thing sustainably. One of those key things for us is about working really close with our procurement team. As an example, when we looked at our back-of-house refrigeration, the way our procurement team used to work is they’d go out and say, ‘what do we need from a performance point of view?’ and ‘what’s the lowest price we’re going to get?
“But with refrigeration, you use seven times more cost on energy than you do on the cost of the refrigerator. So it’s about flipping that on its head and thinking about the operational cost, which has really resonated with the business because it allowed us to show saving across the year.”
Mr Rosevear, speaking at the recent Commercial Kitchen show, said it was important for the company’s sustainability agenda to be driven from the top down, but that it also needs to think about how equipment interacts with each other when considering potential roll-outs.
“Quite often we’ll change a piece of equipment and we don’t think about the negative impact that might have on other equipment in the back of house,” he said.
“So, if I look at refrigeration, which is probably the biggest usage, it generates a huge amount of heat and actually how do you start to utilise that heat rather than seeing it as a bad thing? We’ve taken the heat from our refrigerators and put that into creating hot water, looking at the whole system as opposed to individual bits of kit.”
As well as overseeing energy initiatives, Mr Rosevear looks after Costa’s waste policy. He expects the chain to ramp up its focus on food waste and packaging over the next 12 months.
“I think there will be a real interest around how we start to reuse,” he said. “It was interesting seeing Waitrose announcing their use of reusable packaging in their stores, but we have to think about how we start to bring that into the restaurant trade.
“I think there’s been a big focus over the last 12 months around consumer use of packaging, but it strikes me that actually there’s a huge amount of packaging that we use back of house, that we’re not seeing. So how do we start to utilise equipment to really try to drive that forward and reduce our use of packaging, and also increasing the redistribution of food as opposed to wasting food.”