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: http://www.foodservicefootprint.com/features-2/interviews/shelter-from-the-storm 

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.


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.

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 http://gu.com/p/39qne/tw 
  • 5 perennial veggies to plant once and enjoy forever http://huff.to/Q4AGQX 
  • How do you save a child’s life? A step by step video of how Save the Children does it in West Africa. http://bit.ly/QzGlF3 
  • Interesting article on how Pret fuels passion and positivity in its employees: http://bit.ly/MTqjSV 
  • Empty, run-down homes in Bristol to be renovated by unemployed & ex-offenders creating 200 jobs & 40 new homes – result! http://bit.ly/OEstaq 
  • Still loving Futerra’s The Greenwash Guide http://bit.ly/LQVmPx  – 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: http://bit.ly/IVtVAg 
  • Are straw bales the building material of the future? Mark Briggs reports http://bit.ly/JcsCyj  

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 http://bit.ly/wVTQxe

  • Some interesting ways smart technology could help save carbon, cash and lives, along with some of the challenges of making smart tech solutions happen: http://bit.ly/zuLZ33 

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 http://bit.ly/yRjNZM
  • Win:Win – paper shows its poss to simultaneously mitigate near-Term climate change & improve health & food security: http://bit.ly/yywvGg
  • Ducking good idea: Ducks replace paddy-field pesticides: They feed on insects & weeds, not rice & poo is fab fertiliser: http://bit.ly/xiPphN
  • Study finds organic farming in India provide 30% more jobs than non-organic farming & can increase income by about 250% http://bit.ly/AlzptH
  • Go Croydon NHS! Croydon Health Services pays £24k to get Burger King out of hospital: http://bit.ly/zJNzyS
  • Scientists link mass death of British bees to farm pesticides: http://bit.ly/yPfOYG
  • India to open up its retail sector to foreign brands after all: http://on.ft.com/FOUKUs
  • McDonald’s to give away books with UK Happy Meals making them briefly the nations biggest book retailer: http://tgr.ph/x4CxTT
  • Hospital Patients fed on £2.57 a day – shocking when nutrition is so vital when unwell: http://tgr.ph/zrgEFX
  • A chilling article by George Monbiot on some undemocratic goings on in British government: http://bit.ly/Adv7Uu
  • An interesting way to make use of old aircraft – turn them into hotel rooms! http://bit.ly/xIqaU6
  • M&S gives strawberries longer life with new packaging innovation http://bit.ly/x9f3hg
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!

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!


It’s been another exciting week for Climb the Green Ladder!

Climb the Green Ladder in Waterstones

In good company in Waterstones' window

First, we were thrilled when our publisher, Wiley, told us that, despite being published for just two weeks, initial sales have been so good that they have ordered a second print run!

I was also excited to spot Climb the Green Ladder taking pride of place alongside SuperFreakonomics and Too Big to Fail in a central London Waterstones’ window display. We want to say a huge thank you to all of you who have bought the book, and please, keep your feedback coming in!

One company nearly cleaned out Wiley’s warehouse when they ordered a copy of the book for every single member of staff for Christmas. Other organisations have told us they are giving the book as a corporate gift, or that they’re interested in giving it out during green campaigns in the New Year. Do get in touch if these are ideas you’d be interested in too.

Amy Fetzer LSE 3 December 09

Amy Fetzer

We’ve also had hundreds of individuals sales from everyone from students and consultants to MDs, and the book has had orders from as far afield as Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong! The feedback coming in is that people are really enjoying the book and finding it helpful and inspirational – click on the links to read (or add!) reviews on Amazon or our website and keep telling us your thoughts.

We’ve also launched a new events section of our website so you can keep track of when we’re speaking near you.

Plus, we’ve updated our services page to explain a little bit more about us and what we do – when we’re not writing books that is!

Victoria Hands LSE 3 December 2009

Victoria Hands

The week has also ended on a high with the second Climb the Green Ladder LSE lecture.

After I introduced the Climb the Green Ladder and the six principles of successful sustainability initiatives, Dr Victoria Hands took to the stage.

Victoria, the Sustainability and Environment Manager from LSE, was one of the first people I interviewed during the research for Climb the Green Ladder. Her achievements in helping to get London universities recycling are a real example of how one person can make a difference and it was clear she left the audience inspired.

Dr Martin Blake, Royal Mail

Dr Martin Blake, Royal Mail

Martin Blake is another incredible individual who shared his experiences with us during the research for Climb the Green Ladder. His achievements at helping Royal Mail become more sustainable – for example by showing them that making their buildings energy efficient could save £20 million a year – are hugely impressive. The audience appeared fascinated by his accounts of presenting the business case for sustainability and facilitating real change at Royal Mail.

It was really great to take questions, and then to meet and chat with members audience afterwards. Again, the main feedback from the event was that people really appreciated and were inspired by an approach which gave them tangible tips and examples of how they could put sustainability into practice in their working environment.

I’ll be putting some video footage of the lecture up soon – so watch this space!

Thanks again to those of you who attended, and keep your thoughts, feedback and successes coming in. We love hearing from you.

With best wishes,

LSE Climb the Green Ladder launch

LSE Climb the Green Ladder launch

What a night! I’m thrilled to report that the London Climb the Green Ladder LSE lecture and launch was a resounding success!

‘Inspirational,’ and ‘empowering’ were the buzz words on the night, and the word on Twitter was that it was ‘the most inspiring public lecture ever on sustainability,’ (RT flame_me_ up).

Listen to the podcast here!

Don’t miss the next lecture on Dec 3 – read more!

Packed crowd - LSE Lecture 23 November

The crowd

Thanks so much to those of you who attended – it was wonderful to see, and in some cases, meet you!

After an introduction by the chair, Dr Richard Perkins, I kicked off the lecture by telling the story of Climb The Green Ladder and introduced a few of the book’s key findings.

Jo Confino LSE Climb the Green Ladder Lecture

Jo Confino, The Guardian

Ed Gillespie, co-founder of Futerra, then had the crowd chucking with his fast-paced and insightful presentation on the right ways, and the wrong ways, to get your sustainability message across.

Next, Jo Confino, Executive Editor and Head of Sustainable Development at the Guardian, kept the audience rapt with his inspiring personal account of bringing sustainability to life at The Guardian.

Richard, Amy, Ed and Jo on LSE panel 23 November

Jo, Ed, Amy and Richard on LSE panel

This was followed by a Q&A.

Over 180 people attended, and the queue was so long to buy books afterwards that people were overheard saying they’d buy their copy online or at a bookshop later!

Listen to the podcast here!

Other comments on the night included:


Climb the Green Ladder Amy Fetzer Book Signing

Amy Fetzer Book Signing


‘Unlike other talks on sustainability – you really came away feeling like you could make a difference!’

‘Amazing, inspirational speakers!’

‘I’m definitely buying the book!’

‘The launch and lecture were a triumph’

Tour of Ogilvy & Mather's new green headquarters

Tour of Ogilvy & Mather's new green headquarters

After interviewing Freya Williams from OgilvyEarth for Climb The Green Ladder, we were thrilled to catch up with Freya in person, and to visit the company’s new LEED certified building in New York*.

Freya, a Senior Partner, Planning Director, had already inspired us by helping Ogilvy & Mather launch a green consulting arm and to reduce its business impacts, from introducing double-sided printing to dishing out reusable water bottles.

Now Freya is launching Hopenhagen (www.hopenhagen.org) a high profile campaign which aims to raise awareness of the crucial climate change summit happening in Copenhagen this December (http://en.cop15.dk/).

Freya and her partner, Seth Farbman, have been working with the creative team to raise awareness for event. The Summit in Copenhagen is the culmination of many months of work to get world agreement to mitigate the devastating impacts of carbon emissions.

The opportunity to focus the attention of political and business leaders, as well as motivate more individuals to put pressure on these groups to ratify a world treaty, is of tremendous importance. The scientific community urges us to drastically reduce our carbon emissions in order to lessen the severity of the impacts of climate change.

Hopenhagen aims to be an ‘open source’ campaign using a central website, hopenhagen.org, to drive the debate and awareness and allow users to send messages to the 192 UN delegates attending the meeting.

To get inspired, visit:


(*Application for LEED certification is pending but they expect to receive gold level certification.)

Amy and Shari premiered the highlights of Climb The Green Ladder and the six key approaches that underpin effective sustainability initiatives, featured in our book.

Our first webinar was conducted in July on Ventureneer.com, an online learning community. It was great fun, and we had fantastic feedback.

This included an invitation to give the presentation live at a ‘Lunch and Learn’ seminar for a major chemical company in September.

Stay tuned for more information on upcoming Climb The Green Ladder web-based seminars.

To find our more about our training programs and ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions, please send us an email and we will be delighted to send you more information.
Lunch and Learn with Climb The Green Ladder

Climb The Green Ladder’s Shari Aaron will be speaking at Green Works Workshop and Festival on September 11th at Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT.

Program Title:  Green Business Sense:  Why and How to Green Up your Work Life

For more information, visit:

Please send me an email if you are able to attend as it would be great to meet you!

Winning Book Cover for Climb The Green Ladder

Winning Book Cover for Climb The Green Ladder

Great news!

Climb The Green Ladder: Make Your Company and Career More Sustainable is now available to pre-order on Amazon.com as well as Amazon.co.uk!

Just click on the link to pre-order your copy!

Cast your vote in the polling box below and help us choose the Climb the Green Ladder book cover! We can’t decide between the white or green sky!

Two covers

As more and more employees try to take action on sustainability in their workplaces, our research has revealed the important role that values play. A key component in a company or organisation’s success in addressing climate change lies in their ability to connect to an employee’s sense of personal responsibility or values around the issue of sustainability.

This is demonstrated by our survey findings. In the Climb the Green Ladder Sustainability in the Workplace survey, a majority (66%) of the 425 respondents choose ‘I try to be as sustainable as possible – at home and at work’. And, in a recent study by Tandberg/Ipos MORI of over 16,000 employees around the world almost 1 out of 2 employees (45%) say they, ‘have taken personal steps to reduce climate change’. The Tandberg study also shows that one quarter of employees (24%) believe, ‘that their individual actions are a key to driving environmental change’.

As we review the hundreds of responses from our survey, one thing is clear: it is vital for companies or organizations to tap into an employee’s sense of personal concern and responsibility regarding sustainability. If you are working to get your boss or co-workers interested in your initiatives, you will ensure greater success by connecting your ideas to both the business case and to your co-workers’ personal values around sustainability.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Keep on sending them in!

Amy & Shari

Want to hear the latest findings from Climb The Green Ladder from the horses mouth?

Amy will be speaking on the Sustainable Business Initiatives Panel at UK Aware (www.ukaware.com), Olympia 2, London at 4.15pm on the 17 April 2009.

For your free Climb The Green Ladder ticket, visit the UK Aware website and enter this promotional code: UA09spe.

Do come and say hi if you can make it!

See you then,

Breaking news just in!

Climb The Green Ladder: Make Your Company and Career More Sustainable is available to pre-order on Amazon now!

Be one of the first to get your hands on a copy when the book comes out on 1 November 09 and pre-order your copy now!

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