Preserving the planet through sustainable eating

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms it: we’re in the middle of a climate crisis that can only be quelled by swift and sweeping changes. The release of March’s Sixth Assessment Report saw a sobering consensus from the world’s leading climate scientists, concluding that there are now no second chances: our effect on the Earth’s climate is fast becoming irreversible.

However, with such messaging comes hope. The call for such sweeping climate changes suggests that the planet’s course can be altered, and world-leading businesses – once the culprit du jour for carbon emissions – hold the cards to do so. That’s a monumental responsibility.

Yet it’s also entirely possible. We live in more enlightened times. We’re fortunate enough to recognise that carbon emissions emerge from some seemingly innocuous places like our food wastage, or our production procedures, which each carry a profound carbon cost.


In fact, the carbon emissions of our food are surprisingly voluminous – up to 30% of a household’s greenhouse gas emissions. Consider that metric when multiplied by the demand (and subsequent wastage) of your typical major business, and that output increases exponentially. It’s why, for any eco-conscious business, food is a pivotal factor in the journey to net-zero.

From field to fork, food journeys are carbon rich and, to the average consumer, utterly invisible. According to a 2023 report by the European Commission, food production makes up 30% of Global greenhouse gases*, with close to a quarter of those emissions occurring from pasture alone. A further 27% is believed to be from crop production for humans and animals, with close to a third emerging from the fuels and machinery used to keep livestock and fisheries in production**.  The impact of our Food on the environment occurs long before it sits on the end of a fork. 

In pursuit of the net-zero workplace, these are crucial considerations. They’re also circumstances that few businesses have direct control over. It’s for this reason that the IPCC’s messaging is so insistent: if we don’t tackle the climate crisis in unison, we can’t hope to tackle it at all.  

At ISS, our Net Zero pledge means committing to a low-carbon supply chain — that is, to ensure that our suppliers adhere to the same sustainability standards that we do. That’s not only to our benefit but our clients’ too; like us, they want to know their supplier is delivering carbon-minimal*** services.


Our partnership with Apetito, for example, connects us with one of the UK’s largest suppliers of delivered-in meals and the market leader in sustainability. Thanks to Apetito’s own sustainability strategies, both ISS and its clients have complete confidence in our supply chain, knowing that every stage of the food journey is environmentally conscious.

We know that our beef and lamb meals are sourced from Dawn Meats, Europe’s first red meat supplier to have an approved science-based target behind its net zero strategy. We know that food wastage from Dawn Meat’s pea processing is converted into eco-conscious biogas, a green energy source used to power its own farming machinery. We know that distribution is managed by a delivery fleet projected to be 50% electric by 2025, mitigating the carbon costs of transporting produce.

For businesses wanting full visibility over their supply chain sustainability, the way forward is in finding those like-minded partners. Reassuringly, it seems many are already elaborating on their social responsibilities. The key is for those businesses to maintain momentum; to normalise sustainable working practices until they become expected - not exalted.

*Field to fork: global food miles generate nearly 20% of all CO2 emissions from food (

**Food production is responsible for one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions - Our World in Data

***ISS uses the term carbon in this context to refer to carbon dioxide equivalent (CO₂e), accounting for all relevant greenhouse gas emissions in a consolidated unit of measure.