Hotel company Levy dumps air freight in green push

Hotel company Levy UK & Ireland has abandoned the use of air freight in its supply chain as it seeks to reduce its environmental impact and focus on more local products.

The company, which designs menus for prestigious venues in the UK such as the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the O2 arena and the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, said the decision “first for the industry” had been developed and deployed throughout 2021.

This decision “represents an important step towards the company’s carbon neutral ambitions” and its “commitment to actively measure and reduce the carbon impact as a food company across its portfolio of sites”.

The company highlighted statistics from the International Transport Forum which show that freight transport collectively represents over 7% of all global emissions.

“Air freight is considered the most carbon-intensive method of transporting fresh produce,” the company said.

The company hopes to increase its use of seasonal products from the UK and other modes of transport.

Jon Davies, Managing Director of Levy UK & Ireland, said: “Our ambition as a company has long been to disengage from the use of air freight in our supply and supply chains.

“On the purchasing side, it is about finding alternatives to air freight that are less harmful to the environment. Many of the green vegetables that can be grown here in the UK are needlessly imported from overseas via this method, which comes at a huge cost to the health of our planet.

“We will continue to supply products such as tropical fruits and avocados where there is demand, but it is a question of finding producers closer to home – in continental Europe for example – or means of transport. less harmful that reduce our carbon impact on the planet, such as the boat, road or rail.

The company is not the first in the perishable food supply chain to stop the use of air freight.

In November last year, Faroe Islands salmon producer Hiddenfjord announced that it would end the use of air cargo in its supply chain for environmental reasons.

While the decision to phase out air freight for environmental reasons is not too surprising, the timing of the decision is an interesting one.

UK supply chains are currently under pressure due to the shortage of truckers, while the horticultural industry is also in the face of a labor shortage.

Covid has also had an impact on supply chains over the past year, as drivers have faced additional border checks, while isolation requirements have resulted in worker shortages in some sectors.

Maintaining product quality, given the shorter transit times, is often considered one of the main benefits of using air freight.

However, changing the quality of containers and packaging to keep produce fresher longer is helping to close the gap.

A new company backed by the fish farmer plans to acquire a plane to transport the fish from the islands to the United States. Currently, fish are first shipped to the UK or Denmark before being transported across the Atlantic.

The capacity would be available to other island exporters, while on return the flight would likely include a stopover to help refill the plane.

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