April 21 2022 – Lisa Evans
First of all, what is sustainability? It’s much more than caring for the environment. Its economics, environmental and social goals working together. Many companies are now referring to it as the ‘triple bottom line’.
For generations, businesses have worked solely for profit – and now it shows. At the detriment of the environment, we have ignored that our planet has limited resources. A great quote comes from the Jane Goodall institute, 'People are part of the environment – not superior to it’.
When a business operates sustainably, it works for people, profit, and planet together – where one is not at the cost of another.
So how do Eat My Lunch incorporate sustainability into its business model? Here’s how …
- All our Give school lunches are packed in Compostic bags – an amazing New Zealand business who are changing the way the world wrap their food. Check out their list of local stockists.
- Some of the schools we help make and use their own compost.
- All our corporate lunches come in cardboard boxes with bamboo forks, and we use sturdy cardboard trays for our platters.
- All 3 kitchen sites use the same recycling process. The cardboard is separated and collected by a paper recycling waste management business.
- Food waste is managed by different waste management companies in Auckland and Wellington. The waste is separated into three groups: compostable, packaging and landfill.
- Surplus food is distributed to food banks. When New Zealand went into lockdown in August 2021, our surplus food was distributed to City Mission (Auckland and Wellington) and maraes.
Waste Management at our Give Schools and Ka Ora, Ka Ako Schools
- Each school has its own waste management logistics process with EML. We use Green Gorilla in Auckland and Flight Packaging in Wellington. Flight Packaging work with the schools/our drivers to empty the food waste from the packaging. Flight Packaging clean, break down and recycle the packaging.
- Any waste returned to our East Tamaki kitchen (from our schools) is separated into compostable waste and food packaging.
Working with our communities and other businesses
- Our main mission has always been to feed Kiwi kids who go without. This gives them food security and a chance for a better education through increased concentration and school attendance.
- Many of our staff are employed through MSD (Ministry of Social Development), and paid the Living Wage rather than minimum wage, reducing unemployment and poverty.
- We actively seek out suppliers with a social or environmental conscious for our everyday essentials (eg in Smart Ass tree-free loo paper).
- Our gift box products come from companies that use sustainable practices (eg Ethique and Charity Tea).
- We use local food suppliers to support small businesses and communities.
- Food deliveries take the shortest, most carbon-friendly routes, using a V-works app.
- Using EML Logistics and production knowledge, we feed people in emergency housing and support government departments to reduce food hardship.
What do we want to tackle next?
We’re always working on ways we can improve our processes for the good of our planet and people. Some of the tasks we are working on include:
- Exploring ways to reduce masks, hairnets and gloves going into landfill. Futurepost is another amazing business that makes fence posts from plastic bags and face masks (and there are a few of those around!)
- Reducing our energy use and cost.
- Water management.
- Move schools from our waitlist onto our permanent list. You can find out more about our Give schools on the website.