designed-with-health-in-mind-large-768x795People eat for a whole host of reasons – because they are hungry, bored, excited, sad, celebrating or feel they deserve a treat. They eat out of habit, or because food is put in front of them. Our relationship with food is complex. It is a vital part of everyday life and an integral part of culture. But what and how much we eat can depend on a variety of factors. And in an age of convenience and an abundance of food, we’re eating ourselves to ill health

63% of the UK adult population, one quarter of 2-10 year olds and one third of 11-15 year olds are overweight or obese. According to the World Health Organization, dietary/lifestyle related diseases are becoming the biggest threat to human health. The annual economic impact of obesity in the UK is estimated at £46 billion.

Yet with 1 in 6 meals and ¼ of calories consumed outside of the home, what is the industry doing to ensure it plays its part in tackling the crisis?

I was lucky enough that Footprint Intelligence was commissioned to conduct a piece of independent research on how to use the psychology of healthier eating to encourage consumers to eat more healthily in foodservice by Compass Group UK & Ireland so this is a topic I have been able to explore in great depth.

This is because the obesity figures show that willpower and information is not enough. However, research has shown that it is surprisingly easy to influence what people choose, and how much they eat if only you know how. Many of these changes can be nudges that guide people towards making better choices, in the way white lines painted on roads unconsciously nudge drivers into driving more safely.

Nudges that encourage healthier behaviours in foodservice include changing things like the portion or plate size, which products are within eye line and the way food is positioned and presented. They can also include environmental factors like lighting and music. Yet whilst many foodservice providers have been busy reformulating products, recipes and menus, only a few leaders have considered how psychological approaches can help make people healthier.

This research report outlines the innovative ways in which foodservice can use psychology to help customers make healthier choices, thereby creating a roadmap to a healthier future.

By understanding what works and by sharing best practice, the goal is to make the strategies that work widespread in foodservice.

Read the full report on the Footprint website here: Designed with Health in Mind. And let me know what you think, of course!



ethical-storytelling60% of consumers say ethical ingredients are one of the top issues that make a food company ethical. But how are sustainability stories being told in the foodservice/hospitality environment?

This is especially important when the resonance between that outlet and its ethical credentials might be the differentiating factor that drives the customer to choose that outlet over another.

Distributors and caterers have repeatedly called for better information from manufacturers to help them tell sustainability stories and to demonstrate the value of products’ ethical credentials.

To answer this need, last year Tate & Lyle Sugars commissioned a Footprint Intelligence Report which identified how to communicate ethics effectively in foodservice to allow consumers to act on their desire to use ethical credentials as a differentiating factor when choosing where to eat.

I loved working on this report – I hope you enjoy it too. Read it here: Blueprint for better ethical storytelling in foodservice

Footprint-SRB-LogoWith Brexit, increasing rates and rising raw material costs knocking confidence, creating uncertainty and squeezing bottom lines, foodservice businesses are feeling the pressure. For example, more than two thirds have increased menu prices over the last quarter to keep pace with rising costs, according the CGA’s latest Business Confidence Survey.

Can sustainability provide a vital anchor in these uncertain times, providing stability and better financial returns? According to Sean Haley, regional chair, Sodexo UK and Ireland, the answer is a resounding YES.

This is because, according to Haley, sustainability is “just good business. It’s the right thing to do, and especially in challenging times. There is a lot of uncertainty around, but having sustainability embedded into the business puts us in a stable position.”

Read the rest of my interview with Haley to find out concrete examples of how aligning corporate goals with the SDGS, engaging the workforce and working to embed sustainability throughout your organisation is just sound business: 

Screen-Shot-2017-03-29-at-13.17.52Last year, I worked on another great Footprint research project which aimed to outline how foodservice can help tackle the health crisis by using product renovation, reformulation and innovation to make products healthier.

Commissioned by Nestlé Professional and produced by Footprint Media, the Recipe for Change report is an actionable, non-technical industry guide. It outlines how foodservice can help tackle the health crisis by using product renovation, reformulation and innovation to make products healthier. And, with a recent survey finding that 56% of casual diners would be more willing to go to a restaurant that offers healthy menu options, ensuring products are healthier helps keep customers happy and makes good business sense.

Based on in-depth industry research – including interviews with over 60 industry insiders – the report identified 12 essential ‘ingredients’ to successful reformulation. Discover what they are by reading the report on the Footprint website here.


A couple of years ago, I undertook a research project for Footprint Media Group which aimed to work out why chefs didn’t have much nutritional knowledge. The reason was fairly simple: It’s not taught. So this became the title of my report: It’s not taught: why chefs don’t consider nutrition, and how to get nutritional education onto the syllabus and into the kitchen.


The report, which was sponsored by Nestle Professional, aimed to identify how to improve nutritional education in catering colleges and industry to improve public health and meet customer demand for healthier options.

With the continued support of Nestle Professional, I’m thrilled to announce that Footprint are now able to continue the project and to start putting the report’s recommendations into action. A vital step when 63% of the UK adult population is overweight or obese, and we eat 1 in 6 meals out of home. Watch out for updates on later this Spring.


Foodservice_Trend_Report_2016_pdfSustainable menus, the importance of chef’s nutritional training and the responsibility to make out-of-home food healthier, whatever the policy/voluntary framework. These are some of the top trends identified in the Footprint Health & Vitality Foodservice Trend Report 2016 supported by Bidvest.

As many of you who have seen me recently will know, writing and researching this report – the first component in the Footprint Sustainability Index – has been keeping me pretty busy of late, and I’m thrilled to announce that the report has now been published.

Download your copy here.

And do get in touch if you’d like to speak to me regarding my research for the rest of the index. This will focus on issues such as waste, energy, emissions, supply chain, employees and community.

Here are some of the sustainability-related news stories I’ve written this week:

  • Foodservice does its bit for organic milk, soil association expands it’s portfolio, end of “unintentional product residue”, ale from surplus bread. Read more
  • A food waste bill that could require large supermarkets, manufacturers and distributors to reduce their food waste by no less than 30% by 2025 will get its second reading in parliament this Friday (5th Feb 2016)… Read more
  • Children’s taste buds are becoming so used to “engineered” foods, such as chicken nuggets, fish fingers and ketchup, that they prefer them to “real” foods, such as chicken breast, fish and tomatoes, a new study has concluded. Read more
  • Scotland has launched a new campaign to get consumers doing their bit for climate change by tackling issues such as food waste and washing temperatures. Read more
  • A 25-year study has found that eating fruit and vegetables can help with weight management. Read more

You can find more of my news, stories, reports and features on Footprint – the leading source of information on responsible business and sustainability for the foodservice, hospitality and grocery retail supply chains.

And something to do:

  • Sign the NSPCC’s #FlawedLaw petition. It should always be illegal for an adult to send a sexual message to a child

Some fun stuff to give you inspiration:

  • Want some inspiration? Listen to Ray Anderson . It might be a few years old, but I’ve just listened again – and the late, great man is as inspiring as ever!
  • Another oldie but a goodie with some fun stuff in it – William McDonough: Cradle to cradle design:
  • Love this quote: ‘Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.’ Eleanor Roosevelt

And some good news from the news!

Some stories that caught my eye in the last month. Enjoy!

Some fun stories to provide inspiration:
  • Tackling food waste through social enterprise: Rubies in the Rubble turns food that would be chucked into chutneys, and is proof you can run a company with a business head and a charitable heart 
  • 5 perennial veggies to plant once and enjoy forever 
  • How do you save a child’s life? A step by step video of how Save the Children does it in West Africa. 
  • Interesting article on how Pret fuels passion and positivity in its employees: 
  • Empty, run-down homes in Bristol to be renovated by unemployed & ex-offenders creating 200 jobs & 40 new homes – result! 
  • Still loving Futerra’s The Greenwash Guide  – def worth a read if you haven’t seen it before, or a re-read if you have!
  • Don’t work more than 40 hours a week – interesting (though anecdotal) article on the benefits of working less: 
  • Are straw bales the building material of the future? Mark Briggs reports  

Business 2012 logoI’m looking forward to speaking on Avery’s Green business panel at Business 2012 on Monday 19th March at the O2 Arena. Hope to see some of you there. Come and say hi if you make it!

Some titbits:

  • Ipsos MORI data suggests it is actually frontline workers who are driving the CSR agenda in businesses, not corporate boardrooms. Governed by social conscience and core values, employees increasingly want to feel that they are doing the right thing…There are pioneering examples of businesses practising responsible capitalism in the communities in which they are based.

    Using a selection of stores across the country, M&S has been offering placements to homeless people that include training and other support. More than 20% of participants ended the scheme with a job either at M&S or with other employers. At B&Q, local stores work directly with social landlords to provide repair materials and support local independent businesses through the Tradepoint initiative. An important by-product of such initiatives is the positive brand benefits that businesses accruing with both existing employees and with customers. Almost half (47%) of jobseekers say they are more likely to join or stay with a company that addresses social issues and 70% of customers say they will remain loyal to a brand that demonstrates local social value, even in a recession.’ Emma Norris @ Guardian

  • Some interesting ways smart technology could help save carbon, cash and lives, along with some of the challenges of making smart tech solutions happen: 
Some more news titbits…
  • Great quote on the business benefits of being socially responsible: ‘Organisations with social purpose written into their business models already exist and their leaders are acting and adapting fast. Among other things their businesses remain relevant, competitive, engaged with their communities, and open to new markets and consumer bases.’ Silvia Giovannoni @ Guardian:
  • Sobering article on the scale and health implications of the air pollution in China:
  • Good Jonathon Porrit article on harnessing the power of brands to change & normalise sustainable behaviours:
  • Gutted that plans to ban fishing discards are under threat – fingers crossed for Monday…

Some interesting news stories that caught my eye recently… Enjoy!

  • Don’t sling it – refurb it. Discarded household products such as vacuum cleaners get a new lease of life w/ Electrofarm
  • Win:Win – paper shows its poss to simultaneously mitigate near-Term climate change & improve health & food security:
  • Ducking good idea: Ducks replace paddy-field pesticides: They feed on insects & weeds, not rice & poo is fab fertiliser:
  • Study finds organic farming in India provide 30% more jobs than non-organic farming & can increase income by about 250%
  • Go Croydon NHS! Croydon Health Services pays £24k to get Burger King out of hospital:
  • Scientists link mass death of British bees to farm pesticides:
  • India to open up its retail sector to foreign brands after all:
  • McDonald’s to give away books with UK Happy Meals making them briefly the nations biggest book retailer:
  • Hospital Patients fed on £2.57 a day – shocking when nutrition is so vital when unwell:
  • A chilling article by George Monbiot on some undemocratic goings on in British government:
  • An interesting way to make use of old aircraft – turn them into hotel rooms!
  • M&S gives strawberries longer life with new packaging innovation
Ed and his new car

Ed and his new car

A selection of fun stuff and interesting new stories from the last few weeks. Merry Christmas everyone!

  •  Just spotted that Oxfam’s ethical collection has a 50% off sale in case anyone is looking for last minute pressies… Also love Oxfam Unwrapped & Save the Children’s Wishlist for planet & people friendly pressies. And, in a shamless plug, Climb the Green Ladder makes an EXCELLENT gift of course ;o)
  •  Hooray! Sales of ‘ethical’ goods & services – from produce to transport & funerals – rose by 9% says Co-op
  •  Excited that an eco-conceirge service I bought for my brother-in-law’s b-day led to him saving tonnes of cash & carbon! Can’t believe this car-loving carnivore now says: ‘I am now a salad munching ecocrusader in my Audi A1’ – You rock Ed – keep it up!
  •  Giving employees targets + letting them set own schedule makes them happier 🙂 but no info in the article on how it affects productivity which would have been helpful…
  •  Durban round up by Reuters:
  •  Heartening bbc article on why some wealthy individuals are choosing philanthropy over splashing their cash
  •  Met Office warns of UK climate risks
  •  Foreign investors might not be able to enter India’s retail sector after all to relief of small business owners – heartening follow up to an article I blogged about last time.
  • = an awesome idea! A website from the RiverCottage bods where people with green projects can raise awareness and funds.

I’ll be back with another round up in 2 weeks time. Have a happy and healthy December until then!


Some noteworthy news stories that caught my eye in the last week:

Climb The Green Ladder Book

Climb The Green Ladder

I’ve just noticed that our book, Climb the Green Ladder: Make Your Company and Career More Sustainable, is 65% off in Amazon’s summer sale – buy it for a bargain £5.94!

That’s way cheaper than I can buy it direct from my publisher – madness!

SHE Show logo

SHE Show 7 June 2011

Visit the SHE Show to hear Amy outline the key tools you can use to set your organisation on to a more successful and sustainable path while getting ahead in your career too. Find out more here.

Good Planet Radio logoWant some top tips on how to green your company and get ahead in your career, and hear the story behind Climb the Green Ladder?

Then check out this interview with Shari and I on Good Planet Radio, which was broadcast on Thurs 15 April.

Listen now:

Podcast summary: After conducting research with over 80 sustainability specialists Amy Fetzer and Shari Aaron have gathered the common 6 principles that all successful sustainability strategies use. These strategies are available in great detail in their new book: “Climb The Green Ladder: Make Your Company and Career More Sustainable”. Tune to hear about a preview of the strategies as well as Amy and Shari’s experiences and advice on how to make your company more sustainable.

By Amy Fetzer

If you’re feeling frustrated after Copenhagen and ‘Climategate’, take heart. Your actions can help tackle climate change while making your company – and career – stronger and more successful.

We know this because as part of the research for Climb the Green Ladder: Make Your Company and Career More Sustainable, Shari and I spoke to over 80 sustainability specialists – from organizations including Hewlett Packard, Royal Mail and the London School of Economics – who successfully changed their organizations from within.

Our research revealed that all sustainability strategies are underpinned by the same six maxims or principles which can help guarantee success – whatever your level or industry. These principles are described in much greater detail in the book, but we’ve given you a sneak preview below.

1) Get the mindset: Believe in your own power, and you can make a difference.

At the Phelps’ Group, Kristen Thomas’ idea to swap disposable dishes for reusable ones started a green tidal wave that ultimately led to her company becoming the largest private solar power installation in their area.

2) Make the business case: A business case which demonstrates how your sustainability initiative can add business value will show colleagues you’re no hemp-wearing hippie but a business savvy, strategic thinker who understands the new marketplace dynamics.

Martin Blake showed Royal Mail that tackling inefficiencies in their buildings could save £20 million a year while wiping up to 100,000 tonnes off their carbon footprint.

3) Get colleagues on your side: From using peer pressure to change behaviour to giving people the freedom to develop their own solutions, engagement is vital.

Dr Paul Toyne from Bovis Lend Lease formed sustainability action groups across the company, asking directors to recommend people to ensure top level buy in. This meant new initiatives were embraced as solutions came from within.

4) Have 2-way conversations. It’s crucial to communicate your messages effectively and that means making it real and relevant. Coral Rose persuaded fabric buyers at Walmart to use organic cotton by giving them a packet of kitty litter which was the equivalent weight of chemical fertilizers and pesticides used to grow cotton for a single conventional t-shirt. The result? Wal Mart is now the largest user of organic cotton in the world.

5) Work together: From working with others in your company to competitors, customers, suppliers, NGOs and government, collaboration can reap great rewards.

For example, in Scotland, Boots has teamed up with another company to share deliveries. The initiative has save 6,000 delivery miles a week and 150,000 litres of fuel per annum – reducing costs and the company’s carbon footprint

6) Make it part of the culture. . From making an action plan to making targets personal and part of everyone’s job, the most successful organisations are those who have made sustainability an everyday part of business thinking.

Randy Boeller, from HP US, has seen how an integrated approach reaps real business rewards. Take packaging for example. The carbon footprint of getting a product to the consumer can be four times as much as processing the raw materials for that packaging. This means that a lighter, but more environmentally-intensive material could be the better choice overall, demonstrating why you have to look at sustainability at every level to make the most intelligent decisions.

NYC launch event, 21 January

I am delighted to report that the NYC launch event, 21 of January, was very exciting and a tremendous success!

This event focused on how sustainability provides a leadership advantage for women. The conversation was led by senior level women who have made tremendous strides in spearheading effective sustainability programs. Speakers included (as pictured left to right), Eleni Reed, Director, Sustainability Strategies, Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., and me, Shari Aaron, Co-Author Climb the Green Ladder, Natalia Oberti Noguera, Executive Director of NY Women Social Entrepreneurs, Tensie Whelan, President, Rainforest Alliance and Maria Figueroa Kupcu, Director, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Practice, Brunswick Group.

According to Holly Perlowitz, a senior banking professional based in the New York area, “Gathering with Shari Aaron and other women focused on sustainability was inspiring and reminded me that grassroots efforts matter and committing oneself to carrying the message can start in our homes and our places of business – but it just has to start!”

A special thanks to Double Knot for hosting such a lively event!

Amy also enjoyed speaking at the These Young Minds conference on the 26th of January and got some great feedback from the organizers. Alim Abubakre, Founder, These Young Minds, offered these complimentary words: “Amy Fetzer, is an inspiring, remarkable and unparalleled speaker. Having a personality like Amy speak at an event is what any audience needs to be fulfilled.”

Amy also was welcomed into Commerical’s offices in the UK last week to do a workshop on sustainability. Simon Graham compliments included: “Amy’s work is inspirational. We had the privilege of her presenting one of our Green Ambassador seminars and she is as great a speaker as she is an author. The audience went away with a new vision and energised to do more to Climb the Green Ladder.”

We have such a great week talking about the book and getting people’s feedback. Many thanks to those who participated in our events and we look forward to seeing more of you at other events soon!


I’m super excited that Shari’s US launch for Climb the Green Ladder is happening in New York tonight. I’m so sad I won’t be able to be there, but flying over from London for the launch didn’t seem very sustainable. I can’t wait until there is a sustainable way to cross the ocean between us! (Check out, ‘Can aviation go green?’ for an interesting article on this topic).

Here in the UK, I’ve been busy helping Gloucestershire launch their 10:10 campaign.

10:10This kicked off at the University of Gloucestershire yesterday morning.

Forum for the Future’s Jonathon Porritt, 10:10’s Eugenie Harvey, Gloucestershire Green Guru (and Climb the Green Ladder case study) Sarah Daly and I all gave talks. The crowd included the local mayor and other business leaders, and our talks explained why they should and could take on the challenge to reduce their emissions and impacts by 10% in 2010. To find out more, check out this an article on the event here.

Jonathon Porritt

The feedback from the event so far as been hugely positive so I’m reallylooking forward to getting updates as people start toreduce their impacts.

Next, I spent a really enjoyable afternoon hosting workshops on ways to win with sustainability for local businesses in the area, going first to Ecclesiastical Insurance Group and next on to Commercial.

Sarah Daly

Both companies have made great strides in making their operations more sustainable, but it was lovely to be told that they thought the Climb the Green Ladder toolkit would help them take things to the next level.

That’s all for now folks! And keep getting in touch to let us know how you’re getting on in making your workplace more sustainable!


LSE Sustainability in Practice lecture series continues LSE

We were thrilled with the success of the Climb the Green Ladder lectures at the LSE in November and December. We felt very privileged to be the first two lectures in the LSE’s new Sustainability in Practice series.

This series continues this term, and the LSE Environment Team have organised a fantastic programme with speakers ranging from Jonathon Porritt to Ray Anderson and Andrew Simms.

Below is a list of the lectures.

Amy is going to many of them, so do drop her a line if you’d like to meet up to say hello afterwards.

All lectures are free and open to all, and start at 6.30pm.

14 January: ‘Positive Deviance: the only strategy left for sustainability leadership’ by Sara Parkin, Forum for the Future, at Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House.
21 January: ‘Time for a New Policy Paradigm: resources, technology and human well-being’ by Professor Sir David King, University of Oxford, at Sheik Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.
28 January: ‘New Economics’ by Andrew Simms, New Economics Forum, at Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House.
2 February: ‘Delivering a Low Carbon London’ by Isabel Dedring, Environment Advisor to the Mayor of London, at Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House.
4 February: ‘Climate Crunch: making the economics fit the science’ by Jonathon Porritt, Forum for the Future, at Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House.
9 February: ‘Sustainable Housing: how can we save 80 percent of our energy use in existing homes?’ by Professor Anne Power, LSE Housing & Communities, at New Theatre, East Building.
18 February: !CANCELLED! ‘The Radical Industrialist’ by Ray Anderson, Interface, at New Theatre, East Building.
25 February: ‘Prosperity without Growth’ by Professor Tim Jackson, University of Surrey, at Sheik Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.
4 March: ‘Education for Sustainable Development’ by Tony Juniper, Cambridge University Programme for Sustainable Leadership, at New Theatre, East Building.
11 March: ‘Sustainable Business Innovation’ by John Elkington, SustainAbility and Volan, at Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House.
For full lecture information click here: LSE Sustainability in Practice Events, or send an email to N.B: The lecture by Ray Anderson on 18 February has been cancelled.