Sustainable Food Policy

This Food Policy draws on the Cambridge Sustainable Food Model Sustainability Policy for Food Business. 

Aims of the Cambridge Food Hub

The aim of the Cambridge Food Hub (CFH) is to provide services to create a sustainable local food system. We understand that true sustainability is comprised of economic, environmental and social factors. 

In order to achieve our aim, we commit to the following:

Economic:

  1. Support local producers, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
  • Facilitate access to new stockists
  • Provide free storage and distribution 
  • Promote on our social media and at events
  1. Prioritise the membership of independent retailers and caterers (cafes, restaurants, etc), particularly those that take steps towards acting in a sustainable manner

Environmental:

The Food Hub is committed to reducing our carbon emissions and so our contribution towards climate change. We are committed to acting in a way that promotes the protection of biodiversity. 

  1. Promote local, seasonal fresh produce as much as possible
  • We will always prioritise local growers for fresh produce. This might be supplemented by non-local produce when local produce is not in season or unavailable 
  1. Promote primarily plant-based products 
  • We recognise that plant-based foods are generally associated with lower carbon emissions
  • Only 1.3% of products currently listed contain meat and/or dairy. Only 0.4% of products listed contain meat
  • Additionally, our use of unrefrigerated vans limits our ability to transport fresh dairy and meat goods
  1. Reduce the emissions associated with food storage and transport
  • Use of unrefrigerated electric vans, charged from solar panels
  • Efficient supply routes that reduce the distance needing to be driven
  • Work towards a new Food Hub building with innovative low-energy cold storage
  1. Reduce food waste
  • Coordinate a number of different buyers with different food requirements within the ‘local food ecosystem’ to ensure all food goes to a place where it is valued
  • Work with businesses and community groups to redistribute food surplus
  1. Reduce waste going to landfill
  • Collection of resources such as coffee grounds, crisp packets etc.
  • Support and promotion of zero-waste retail
  1. Support producers who commit to sustainable practice and production including, but not limited to:
  • Plant-based products
  • Sustainable packaging, such as reusable bottles/jars
  • Organic growers

Social:

  1. Ensure fairness to our employees and members
  • Endeavour to always pass on payment to producers within credit limits
  • Make deliveries in a timely manner
  • Respond promptly to member concerns
  • Where relevant, take ownership of mistakes
  1. Commit to paying employees at least the Voluntary Living Wage and supporting and promoting the Voluntary Living Wage amongst our members
  2. Promote ethical supply chains, particularly those that are
  • Fairtrade – where growers/producers are given a fair price for their product
  • Transparent – where businesses know and interact with each stage of their supply chain
  1. Where relevant, aim for high animal welfare standards within our business and supply chain
  2. Engage with activities in our wider community to promote sustainability
  • Attend community events to promote the Food Hub, especially (but not limited to) events that focus on food and/or sustainability
  • Support community events such as community meals through the provision of local and sustainable food
  1. Facilitate more equitable distribution of healthy, fresh produce
  • Collaboration with organisations such as CSF, Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance, community groups and charities e.g. Holiday Lunches, Food Cycle, etc. to facilitate projects combating food insecurity
  • Help to subsidise these projects through our membership model, particularly through our corporate membership

Our values are ‘fair, progressive, sustainable’.

The way that we operate must be inline with these values and objectives.

To maximise the impact of our Sustainable Food Policy we will

  • examine this policy at least on an annual basis to assess whether the targets have been reached and can be raised
  • build responsibility for the management of this policy into the job descriptions and training of all staff 
  • communicate this policy with our members and local community in order to grow awareness of sustainable food 

Defining Local

There are many ways of defining ‘local’ when it comes to food. Our definition is based on the practicalities of conducting our operations. We do not have a fixed kilometer/mile radius.

We commit to collecting, or being able to collect, the produce of local producers on demand. All of our local producers are currently situated in Cambridgeshire, or its neighbouring counties of Suffolk or Norfolk.

Our boundary for non-producer membership (cafes, restaurants, retailers, corporates, community groups) is more restricted. Creating efficient supply chains means it is more effective for us to have fewer members over a smaller space, that we visit more frequently.

Based as we are south of Cambridge our perimeter covers most of South Cambridgeshire, including (a non-exhaustive list) the towns of Cambridge, Huntington, Ely, St Neots, Royston, Haverhill, Saffron Walden, and the surrounding villages.

Additionally, the CFH recognises the following caveats regarding local produce:

  • Availability of fresh local produce is variable throughout the year. There are months where local produce will have to be supplemented with non-local produce if we wish to have a diverse selection
  • Local produce is not always the most environmentally-friendly in terms of carbon emissions produced. Production methods, storage and method of transport are significant in determining the balance between the environmental impact of local and non-local produce
  • Buying from local businesses is not equal to buying local produce. Processed goods have complex supply chains and ingredients will be sourced both locally and further afield

We offer a number of products that are not local to Cambridge. We have chosen these to with the logic that retailers and caterers will be more attracted to buying the products of small local producers if the offering through the Food Hub is wider.

Each of these products has been deemed to have ethical or sustainable credentials/ including:

  • Commitment to sourcing Fairtrade ingredients (LemonAid/ChariTea)
  • Organic production/ingredients (LemonAid/ChariTea/Minor Figures)
  • Plant-based, including alternatives to meat and dairy (Minor Figures)
  • Sustainable production methods that place them as the most ethical of their product type (Greenscents)
  • British-grown or manufactured (Minor Figures)

Regarding non-local fresh produce and products, we commit to never supplying air-freighted goods.