By 14/10/2019Article

There is no need to find solutions to all of the challenges of sustainability on our own, which is why REGA, DRC, Global Compact Network Denmark and the Danish Industry Foundation have joined forces on a value chain project: SDG’s in the Value Chain.

Taking the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a starting point, SDG’s in the Value Chain is an initiative that brings industry, knowledge producers and restauranteurs together in order to raise the levels of sustainability within the restaurant industry  - by working together, they will find solutions to some of the industry’s greatest sustainability challenges. The goal is to strengthen the competitive edge, raise the sustainability ambitions along the entire value chain, and meet customer demands for a sustainable restaurant experience. This requires well-organized collaboration and continual dialogue across the sector and within the value chain in order to find the right solutions – solutions that will ultimately be reflected in each individual company’s bottom line.

According to the Project Manager for SDG’s in the Value Chain, Karen Panum, the project’s approach to the value chain is unique:

“We face enormous challenges regarding sustainability, but companies cannot find solutions to these challenges if they continue to try to do it alone. This is why the method of bringing different actors to the table to confront the challenges that we all share is extremely interesting and relevant.”

The three-year project is currently in its start-up phase so it is not yet possible to measure the results of this combined effort. The dialogue and the work carried out by the various groups in the value chain is an ongoing process that will conclude at the end of 2021 when a solutions gallery with the concrete suggestions for how to initiate the new alternatives is expected to be presented. By using this method, the project taps into the current momentum to create new models and solutions which can lead the way for the restaurant industry and industry at large.

“We hope to inspire others and show that sustainability and competitiveness are not opposites. On the contrary, they are one another’s precursor. Together we are laying down new global standards for what it means to be a sustainable and responsible business,” states Torben E Hoffmann Rosenstock, Administrative Director at Denmark’s Restaurants and Cafés (DRC) who are behind the REGA initiative.

The four groups in the value chain

The project addresses four main environmental sustainability challenges that are pertinent to the value chain. Stakeholders from different stages of the value chain are brought together to work on each challenge. These “value chain groups” have adopted titles that are intended to inspire the participants to systemic, exponential new ways of thinking instead of simply improving the current system incrementally.

  • Circular Restoration: The focus here is on how restoration can become more circular and – together with suppliers – be better at reducing, reusing and recycling resources.
  • The Take-Away System of the Future: This group will focus on the future sustainability of the take-away system. The group will attempt to create transparency and a knowledge base for the sector, as well as come up with entirely new ideas about how to deliver food.
  • From Grass to Guest: Here the focus is on how we can promote systems and solutions that ensure better quality local produce for the sector, thereby supporting a more sustainable food system. Among other things, the group will look at buying systems, digital solutions, local sourcing, urban farming and organics.
  • From Food Waste to Resource: This group is focused on how the restaurant industry can reduce CO2 emissions by reducing food waste, and consider more broadly how to create systems that make it easier to transform food waste to a resource.

Together, the groups will identify, test and market new solutions, which can be shared across the industry at home and abroad. Hopes and the level of ambition are high among the many participants in the project, but that does not scare Karen Panum.

 “SDG’s in the Value Chain has come into being in order to find solutions to the difficult challenges we are facing at the industry level. We are uniting, lifting our heads up and shooting for the stars. The worst that can happen is that we ‘only’ reach the sky.”

 About SDG’s in the Value Chain

SDG’s in the Value Chain will run from 2019 to 2021 and is funded by the Danish Industry Foundation. The project gathers over 70 different stakeholders from different stages of the value chain, including restaurateurs, suppliers of various sizes, and knowledge producers such as universities and industry organisations.

Contact Karen Panum for further information or if you would like to participate in the project.