Posted: 20/03/2020

Greener thinking: Sustaining business through COVID-19

The high street is a veritable battlefield with producers and retailers fighting for their lives. With fewer shoppers and many restricting their purchase of luxury items, the uncertainty looms heavy. Our steady pursuit for sustainability and ever greener, zero waste box-ticking now sits much lower on the agenda, yet plays an inadvertently critical role in how we navigate a retail and dining landscape overshadowed by COVID-19.

Regardless of sourcing, our business practices will inevitably be a little more conservative at this time, waste is simply not an option. Whether that means finding ways to utilise off-cuts and leftovers, or turning to preservation techniques in an attempt to extend the life of fresh produce, a broad and dynamic approach is being embraced throughout the industry.

Diversification is going to be key in the months ahead, forcing businesses to reconsider the service they provide not only to their loyal customers, but to their immediate community. 

Already, companies like Natoora, who until recently only supplied the trade are now opening their delivery service to the general public. Restaurants that were traditional dine-in operations have quickly turned to take-out only, armed with home delivery in a desperate attempt to stay in business and serve those forced to work from home or self isolate. 

For those businesses that can, there’s also a lot of positive community action going on. Brands like Jimmy’s Iced Coffee are giving all spare stock to local food banks as well as drops to the emergency services. 

Further afield, Andy Town Coffee Roasters in San Francisco facilitated a donation from their loyal customers, raising $20,000 over night, which has gone towards supplying free coffees, teas and pastries to hospital workers throughout the city.

Sustainability efforts might not be focused on reusable coffee cups or biodegradable packaging right now, but on sustaining your community. Retailers are currently experiencing record sales, but for how long is uncertain. Now is a time to innovate, pivot and respond in the hope of unearthing new opportunities with service very much at the forefront of our sector. 

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