City events to serve only seasonal plant-based food and responsibly sourced local fish – no more meat dishes and disposable tableware

The City of Helsinki wants to ensure that environmental issues are better considered in its catering, and so it has adopted a new policy favouring responsibly sourced local fish and plant-based food for catered events. Helsinki’s divisions and public utilities organise numerous meetings, seminars, workshops and public events that include catering.

As of 1 January 2022, the guidelines for Helsinki catering are as follows:

  • Menus will include seasonal plant-based food and/or responsibly-sourced local fish, Fairtrade-labelled products (e.g., coffee, tea, bananas) and oat milk with coffee
  • No meat products will not be served
  • Special diets will be catered for
  • Only reusable tableware will be used 
  • Drinks will not be served in individual bottles
  • To avoid food waste, invitations to events with catering will require RSVPs.

Social
responsibility also important

The use of animal products and the choice of raw materials generally have a high significance on the environmental impact of catering services. Other factors include, for example, food preparation, packaging, transport and food waste. At City events, food waste is mainly due to last-minute cancellations.

The use of disposable products increases the consumption of natural resources and the creation of waste. Therefore, reusable tableware will be used.

Besides the environmental aspect, social and economic responsibility must also be considered. The City of Helsinki has been a Fairtrade City since 2013, which is taken into account in City event catering services.

Part
of the Roadmap for Circular and Sharing Economy measures

Events organised by the City refer to internal affairs within the City organisation, such as meetings and staff events, and events to which external parties are invited, such as workshops, seminars, public events, and events by invitation only. Exceptions to the policy are allowed only in case of high-level visits or similar events organised by Helsinki Mayors or other top management of the City for justified reasons.

In February 2019, the Helsinki City Council decided that food services provided by the City are to halve the use of dairy and meat products by 2025. The decision promotes the City’s emission reduction goals.

The policy is part of the Roadmap for Circular and Sharing Economy’s procurement-related measures to reduce the climate impact of food and the amount of natural resources used by the City. City residents can monitor the progress of the roadmap measures with the help of the Kiertotalousvahti (Circular Economy Watch) service.

LINKS:

Roadmap
for the Circular and Sharing Economy

Circular
Economy Watch