Soapbox: Going for Green
With environmental concerns gaining an increasing foothold in the way businesses are perceived in the great green debate, HL asks: how important is it to source products locally?
Directors of interior and space design specialist Completion, Gilly Foulds and Adrienne Miles-Kenwright think that there are many benefits to sourcing locally
Sourcing products locally is becoming an increasingly popular trend within the hospitality and leisure design industry owing to the many advantages it brings to the design process.
On a basic level, utilising local trades- and crafts-people reduces transport costs and, as a knock-on , is kinder to the environment.
Sourcing products that are manufactured nearby helps sustain the community by providing business for independent suppliers who survive on reputation and repeat business. Local suppliers also tend to have a deep understanding of their products and pay more attention to customer service.
Providing a more personal service is vital within the industry, not only to understand the needs of clients, but also with the local manufacturers and suppliers. Interior design is an intimate process that requires a great amount of listening and trust with both clients and suppliers, alongside the expected creative and practical skills. It is the ability to forge such relationships that enables designers to deliver projects successfully; relationships which often extend beyond the initial commission.
Space planning and interior design specialists should focus on trying to source raw building materials locally, and utilise local people for projects because they can offer expertise and knowledge specific to their area.
Chef Marcello Tully says sourcing locally keeps costs down while also being environmentally friendly.
‘For me, sourcing ingredients from the environment we serve our food in is of great importance. From flora and fungi to meat and poultry, our kitchens aim to source as many ingredients as possible as close to home as possible.
‘Sourcing ingredients locally also has economic and environmental impacts. I think that it is important to keep business as close to home as possible, helping to guarantee jobs and infrastructure in the local community. My restaurant is in a rural location, so transport and environmental costs can be considerable if transporting goods from further afield. Aiming to source most ingredients locally cuts these costs, as well as protecting the stunning natural environment which surrounds the hotel.’
Bernhard Zechner, group general manager for both Whittlebury Hall and Scalford Hall says that where possible, products should be sourced locally.
‘For me this question has a bigger implication and falls into the realms of sustainability; it’s a subject that both our hotels take seriously. In the hotel business, it’s important to examine and control food costs and origins, liquor costs and labour costs; in fact all of the factors relevant to a thriving business that, in this century, need to be given serious management time and due attention.
However, food can be sourced from the local area where volume allows; our fine-dining restaurant sources its entire menu exclusively from local produce and suppliers.
Far beyond the financial benefits, which are modest to larger businesses, I believe that it is perfectly possible to reduce food miles giving a much lighter footprint – and importantly – being able to demonstrate to partners and clients that you manage your business with a focussed eye on both efficiency and environmental impact.’
Procuring services within a 15-mile radius reduces carbon footprint and supports the local business community.
As featured in Hospitality & Leisure Design Magazine, August 2011.