I always think the words ’corporate social responsibility’ are rather unwieldy. To some the word ’corporate’ as in ’corporation’ seems to take little account of smaller producers such as craft bakers. But of course the corporate actually stands for ’we’. The care of the planet and its resources is down to each and every one of us.
The baking industry uses masses of water, huge amounts of heat and copious amounts of packaging. These are all vital. You cannot locally source palm-oil (until the planet really heats up) but there are lots of things we can do.
I’m sure some new environmental tax lurks just around the corner, so although you may be struggling with commodity price rises, it pays to keep your eye on the ball.
My own epiphany came one day when I emerged from a supermarket with about 12 plastic carrier bags and I was struck by the thought that I would probably decompose long before they ever did. In fact, they probably had a thousand year advantage. At least I can probably help a tree to sprout.
There is much we cannot change - but lots we can. Premier Foods (Rank Hovis and British Bakeries) plus Warburtons and United Biscuits have already pledged to cut water usage by 20% by 2020 (pg 4).
Fosters Bakery owner John Foster, a passionate craft baker with five shops, who makes bread and cakes and supplies Pret A Manger, among others, has reduced the food miles of sandwiches sold in Boots from 236 down to a mere 26 by making a long-term commitment to local farmers to use their wheat (pg 4). At the same time, Welsh organic flour producer Bacheldre Watermill has introduced fully compostable labels.
But also in this week’s issue there is an emphasis on effort and triumph. Effort made by the Tameside college students who entered the Bakery World Cup heats for Europain, and should be thoroughly applauded along with their tutors (pg 19), and triumph by Terry Tang in the Renshaw-sponsored Baking Industry Award (pg 16).
His tale is a delight, but ladies, having read it, all I can say is next time you go through an airport scanner, and see a probe-like skewer, run a mile!