08 August 2008 | Helen Gilbert
Hotels have been urged to use their 'significant buying' power to support local and organic food producers better.
The call from organic food campaigner the Soil Association comes in light of a new survey of 700 venues and hotels that revealed 74 per cent have a corporate social responsibility policy.
However, of those, only 22 per cent purchased more than half their food from local sources and a staggering 65 per cent were using unsustainable food produce, the study by event management firm Conference Care revealed.
James Twine, commercial director of the Soil Association said: "We would like to see more commitment to sustainable buying practices across the whole menu - with greater volumes of organic food bought more consistently rather than occasional purchases of one or two lines."
He added that hotels have "significant buying power" which they could use to not only 'please their customers taste buds and attract potential clients', but also to "care for the environment and support their local and organic food producers and processors."
Chris Peacock, director of Conference Care, added: "The corporate market is increasingly purchasing their meeting and event venues based on CSR and sustainability as well as purely price.
"We are often asked by our clients about food miles and it is clear these messages aren't being addressed."