Fancy a cuppa? Well take my advice and walk straight past Costa Coffee and head for Pret A Manger instead. Until Costa reverses it’s policy on throwing away perfectly good food each day – keep walking! And while you’re at it, how about signing this petition organised by 38 Degrees. If you’re not up to speed on Costa Coffee’s shame, here’s the story so far…
Costa Coffee’s short-sighted policy means all its leftover food is thrown away at the end of each day. That’s its sandwiches, cakes, pastries and other ‘delicious’ food, by the way.
How many food banks do we have in the UK? How many people are dependent on them to help feed their families? How many homeless, starving people would benefit from those perfectly good sandwiches and cakes that are just being thrown out?
I think the petition by 38 Degrees is laudable. But it isn’t going far enough. What about the rest of the Whitbread Group? Isn’t the Costa Coffee policy the same as the Beefeater, Premier Inn and the Group’s policy as a whole?
Costa Coffee, in case you didn’t know, is no longer owned by Messrs Costa and Costa. The 41-strong independent coffee shop chain was bought by Whitbreads in 1995.
According to its website, Whitbread prides itself on its CSR – that’s corporate and social responsibility to you and me. Frankly, I think any company that throws away good food is completely irresponsible, so it’s time Whitbread stopped the whitewash. How about it Richard Baker? You’re Whitbread’s big cheese and I’ll bet your family doesn’t go hungry.
Take a look at its website and you’ll see Whitbread proclaiming we’re all ‘GOOD TOGETHER’. Try telling that to someone who doesn’t have enough to eat. Whitbread states (and I quote) …
“We want to make lives better for our teams and communities through industry leading training and community programmes
We know our customers care and we want to help by providing trusted products and informed choices
We reduce our impact on the environment and take care of our business by using less carbon and water and managing waste effectively”
Managing waste effectively? COBBLERS COSTA!
Throwing food away is NOT effective waste management.
Whitbread aims to have zero waste going to landfill by 2017. If this is such an important target, why isn’t Costa Coffee (and presumably the rest of the Whitbread Group) not donating its leftover food to homeless charities and food banks? Won’t that help them meet their targets more effectively and efficiently?
By comparison, Pret A Manger donates some three million food items every year to homeless charities. Which of these companies would you prefer to support?
Personally, I think we need to adopt the wartime policy. During WW2, throwing away food was a criminal offence that could land you in prison. When I see this sort of needless waste, I want to bang them all up and throw away the key. It could go to landfill along with all the food they’re wasting.
Who in Whitbread came up with a policy that allows them to waste food? Perhaps we should appeal to its marketing department. No doubt there are lots of PR people beavering away on damage limitation trying to justify the company policy. Errr … wouldn’t it be easier to change the policy and go for the good press instead of trying to defuse the negativity?
Perhaps Whitbread needs to take a leaf out of Ashley Jiron’s book. She’s the Oklahoma café owner who was so appalled by someone riffling through her bin for something to eat that she put a sign up asking them to come inside for a free meal.
This wasn’t about publicity or PR or anything else. Just someone with a kind heart who was prepared to do her bit to right one of the world’s injustices. And what happened was every marketer’s dream… the story and pictures of Ashley’s note went viral in every corner of the world. Money can’t buy that sort of reputation.
So please, please, get your name on that petition. Perhaps public opinion will persuade Whitbread and Costa Coffee clean up their act.
Fancy a coffee? I’ll be in Pret A Manger if you want me.
Image Credit: 123rf