Many consider Veggies to be one of the most ethical caterers on the circuit, with policies developed from 30 years experience in organic / fair trade / pure vegetarian catering and guided by feedback from customers and supporter via our ongoing ethical survey, which you are invited to complete. Our burgers & sosages (from mixes made by hand in our own premises) are rated as the Best Buy in the “Ethical shopping guide to vegetarian and vegan burgers & sausages” by the Ethical Consumer Research Organisation, the UK’s leading alternative consumer organisation.
— Veggies Catering (@veggiesnottm) May 23, 2013
Having been shortlisted in the Green Trading Standards scheme at previous Glastonbury Festivals we were delighted to receive the 2011 Greenpeace Award for “favourite trader in the Green Fields”. We are also 3-times winners of the ‘Best Vegan Caterer’ Awards.
Whilst starting from a very high benchmark after 33 years of development, each year we review our policies for Glastonbury Festival’s Sustainability Questionnaire. The following summarises responses from 2015 to date.
Please give details of the sustainable and renewable materials used for your stall.
“Our catering trailer was bought second hand many years ago  and is maintained and refurbished by our volunteers and local tradespersons. Another of our trailers was built for us 25 years ago and is still in use. Replacements and refurbishments have been done with second hand / auction equipment.
Whilst our tents are vinyl, we have kept them in since 2004, and make them available to numerous action camps, such as Climate Camp, No Dash For Gas, Peace News, Earth First!. Being vinyl rather than heavy canvas, they have saved far more oil in their transportation than is embedded in their construction. None of the canvas has been sent to landfill, they are uses for tarps, groundsheets etc. As Glastonbury Green Futures do not like vinyl we have bought a fabric gazebo for our front-of-house campaign/info space. We have inherited a lovely cotton ‘Weirdigans’ marquee, made available for Food for a Future campaigning, but have to run an additional van to transport it. ”
What measures have you taken to reduce the energy consumption of your business in the last 12 months?
“We cannot say that we have switched to LED lighting in the last 12 months as we converted several years ago and continue to source cutting edge efficient LED components. We make our own lighting out of recycled & LED components eg LED ‘light bulbs’ made out of recycled jars or (charity) water bottles. We have invested in more solar panels this year to bring more power production in house, so that we can off-grid at the numerous events that are not as well provisioned as Green Futures. ”
“ To help promote sustainable vegan catering whilst minimising our travel, we have launched a directory of 300+ other vegan caterers to recommend to to events outside our (usual) range see www.veggiecatering.org.uk ”
What else do you do to ensure ethical sourcing?
“Our key suppliers are wholefood cooperatives, such as Essential Trading & Lembas Wholefoods, who specialise in organic &/or fair trade products. Where appropriate we favour small, vegan producers and those trading in our own local neighbourhood. ”
What will you do to minimise water waste?
“Rinsing water becomes washing up water; washing up water is reused to pre-soak pots and pans before washing, or to wash muddy boots & structures. We use water from (reused & sterilized) 15ltr tubs, via 12v pump, rather than running mains water at point of use. ”
What will you do to minimise waste from your stall?
“We have had a minimal packaging policy for all our  years. We use no disposables, other than napkins (made from recycled paper), with paper bags are available on request. We have used ‘proper’ returnable mugs ever since we began in 1984. We offer quality compost to the permaculture garden, rather than sending it for industrial composting. We take tetrapacs, compostable food waste and other recyclables away with us for recycling, where facilities are not provided by event organisers. At the Green Futures Field even plastic wrap is collected for recycling by the in-field recycling team, allowing a zero waste target. We even publish Tetrapak Craft Recycling ideas.”
Is there anything else you do to make your business greener and fairer that you haven’t told us about?
“Everything that we do is vegan. We are a not-for-profit, campaigning co-operative & social enterprise. Where appropriate we check suppliers’ ethical ratings with the Ethical Consumer Magazine, having been subscribers since issue #1, 25 year ago. Our use of fair trade teas & coffees pre-dates the existence of the ‘Fair Trade’ mark. We provide catering facilities for numerous campaigns for positive social change.”
Is there anything we can do as a festival to help support you trade in a greener and fairer way?
“Whilst we are willing & able to source vegan, ethical, fairtrade & organic products from Essential Trading, these are not standard though-out the supply chain, such that if they run out we have to revert to standard products from other on-site suppliers. We find it difficult to trade on a level playing field if other caterers sell (for example) coca-cola products, rather than organic soft drinks. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Coca-Cola . [Glastonbury Festival should] make organic / fairly traded soft drinks the default across the whole festival, rather than a niche option for ethical caterers. Whole Earth would welcome the support and Coca Cola products are not ethical or sustainable. ”
How are you telling your customers about what you are doing to be greener and fairer?
“Our ethical & sustainable policies are up front on our website & literature. We enter into enthusiastic conversations at any opportunity. We display Ethical Consumer & Vegan Society accreditation. We support & sponsor the ‘Food for a Future’ campaign/workshop space at Green Futures. Many of our ethical decisions are published on our website, eg our organic-local-wholesome discussion and Ethical Consumer product research.”
Which of the following, would you consider undertaking to improve the ethical credentials of your business?
– Change your business energy provider
– Invest in solar panels/renewable energy
– Reduce the energy consumption of your stall
– Change stock providers
– Other (please specify)
“Our business energy provider is already Good Energy, backed up by two small local solar/wind cooperatives for additional on-site supply. We are already investing in all the solar panels & renewable energy resources towards becoming fully self-sufficient. Having reduced the power consumption to a minimum we need to continue to invest in brighter, efficient lighting to be able to be seen and to demonstrate an alternative, against the glare of less energy efficient caterers and those powered by generators, particularly at mainstream events, less ‘switched on’ than Glastonbury. Likewise the switching of suppliers and promotion of minimal packaging are initiatives that were undertaken at the beginning and throughout our 30 years on the catering front line! ”
You can also download & view our complete Sustainability Questionnaire.
Other 2017 additions:
– Homemade: 71-100%
Our products have been awarded Ethical Consumer ‘Best Buy’ rating. Whilst they are made by us from organic ingredients we cannot afford Soil Association registration. We are registered with the Vegan Society.
“What percentage of your food stock will be locally sourced (local to you or purchased from the onsite wholesalers)”
– 71-100%”What cleaning products will you use on your stall? (Please state a percentage for each category)”
– Eco-friendly products e.g. Ecover/Faith in Nature: 71-100%
From 2010 survey
Have you traded at Glastonbury Festival before?
What have you done to make your stall cleaner, greener and fairer since the last time you traded?
Whilst we have used fair trade & organic teas & coffees since 1984 (this is our 30th Anniversary Year), we have now sourced a fair trade coffee producer just 25 miles away. We now get almost all our cake baking flour, stoneground & organic, from Greens Windmill, just 2 miles away. We have continues to stay off mains power by installing more 12v LED lighting & water pump run from solar charged batteries.
We have refurbished rather than replaced our tent, following 8 weeks in the Somerset storms on free loan to the Badger Action Camp. We have expanded our ‘Milk of Human Kindness‘ vegan outreach project, offering 6-8 types of plant milks, including hemp milk from Devon.
How far will you travel to get to the Festival (in miles)?
To get to this event 167 miles from our home base at Nottingham’s Sumac Centre, (and back), Veggies will emit 200kg CO2. However by helping 3000 people Eat Vegan we will “offset” 6,000kg CO2. If ONE customer goes Vegan For Life, they will save 1.5 tonnes CO2 every year, as well as saving 4022 animals’ lives, and enabling all the world’s peoples to receive a Fair Share of the world’s resources. (references)
What measures have you taken to reduce the energy consumption of your business?
We mainly use efficient LEDs that use 1w rather than 11w for similar light from regular low energy energy bulbs. We use an appropriate number to give sufficient lighting to run off a solar or wind powered 12volt supply. We never use powered generators when working on site.
What waste are you recycling?
Aluminium cans, cardboard, cooking oil, food waste, glass bottles, plastic bottles, tin (if facilities are available)
Our long standing minimal waste policy is based on the use of recycled (food grade) napkins, to avoid mountains of all-be-it compostable plates. We only ever use proper, returnable mugs.
What will you do to minimise water waste from your stall?
As we cater at many action camps & gathering, where water is sometimes carried in from offsite, we demonstrate water use minimisation, for example rinsing water becomes washing up water which becomes ‘pre-wash’, before then being used to soak pots&pans.
what else will you do to minimise waste from your stall?
We follow the 12 R’s of waste reduction: Re’fuse, Reduce, Return, Repair, Refurbish, Reuse, Reclaim, Refuel, Replenish, Recycle, Ref’use, Respect, described in detail on our recycling info pages.
Our Commotion for the Ocean info4action workshop space is running recycled craft activities, including making decor from shoals of tetrapac fish. For all the 70 events at which we cater each year we bring the (minimal) waste generated to our Sumac Centre base for onsite composting & recycling. We have loads more tetrapac craft ideas on our website.
What percentage of your food stock is organic?
What percentage of your food is locally sourced?
Our key product, Veggies Burgers, are hand made on site from organic ingredients that we source & mix ourselves, including UK oats & breadcrumbs & soya from France. Bread is otherwise usually supplied by an independent local Nottingham Bakery. Cakes are baked on site from organic ingredients (often with flour from Greens Windmill, 2 miles from our home base).
What are you selling that is Fairtrade?
Coffee, decaff coffee, hot chocolate, tea, redbush, herbal teas.
For over 25 years we have never stocked other than fair trade teas and coffees, which are also organic where available. Sugar is sourced as organic, rather than fairtrade.
Whilst not ‘Fairtrade’ as such, we consider Whole Earth cans to be fairer than Coca Cola products.
Likewise Zapatista Coffee is directly traded (via Cafe Libertad in Germany) from indigenous farmers in Chiapas, Mexico.
How will you be telling your customers about what you are doing to be cleaner, greener and fairer?
At all 70 events that we attend each year we share with the public our mission to make catering greener, cleaner & fairer. We speak with enthusiasm about our outlook on catering & campaigning, and freely offer advice and support to other vegan & vegetarian caterers.
From 2010 survey
What other criteria do you look for when sourcing ethical goods?
We ensure that all goods are vegan. We follow the product advice of the Ethical Consumer Research Association. Back in the day we never used products of the South African apartheid regime, a policy than continues in the avoidance of products from Israel.
Do you use eco-friendly or biodegradable detergents/cleaning products?
Yes. As well as having always been biodegradable, cleaning material are sourced in bulk from a vegan supplier for resale to supporters and volunteers in our local community.
If you have traded at Glastonbury Festival and entered the Green Traders Awards before, what improvements have you made since you last traded?
We have resolved to reduce our default range of operation by 10% year on year to reduce traveling. We have actively supported the establishment of other volunteer-led, vegan campaign caterers in other parts of the country to further reduce traveling.
We continue to share the use of our facilities with many other campaign groups, including Climate Camp, Earth First and Peace News camps and gatherings. These and many for events are detailed on Veggies Diary
Have you got any useful tips for ways in which traders can reduce the electricity, gas and water used during the festival?
Use no generators. Turn off extra gas equipment at quite times. Reuse washing up water to pre-soak pots and pans before washing. Small operations can use water from (reused) 25ltr tubs rather than running mains water.
Are there any other ways that Glastonbury Festival could make it easier for you to recycle your waste from your stall?
Provide recycling for plastic wrap and tetrapacks. Also perhaps (torch) batteries, although we ourselves use rechargables.
Do you have any other suggestions for improving the sustainability of the festival as a whole?
Include concerns over the environmental impact of livestock products in all aspects of ethical and environmental planning and monitoring. Livestock products have been held responsible for significant amount of methane & carbon emisions. Whilst there may be debate over the detail, farmed animals compete inefficiently for food/feed, water and land resources, in a way which cannot be sustained if the global population were to adopt western patterns of consumption.
Do you think you should be short listed for the Gold or Silver Awards? If so why?
Many consider Veggies Catering Campaign to be one of the most ethical on the circuit. Our policies are not a flash in the pan, they have been the cornerstone of our operation for  years, drawn from our close involvement is supporting many campaigns for humans, animals and the environment.