Last week, Arena, The Hospitality Network held an insightful webinar tackling the importance of sustainability in the workplace. Joined by experts in the field, Dr Emma Keller, Head of Sustainability, Nestlé UK & Ireland; Anne Simonnet, Head of Sustainability & Compliance, Foodbuy UK & Ireland and Peter Statham, Head of Sustainability & Government Relations, Brakes, the panel shared their insider knowledge of where we are today and how to move forward.

So, what is sustainability?

Dr Emma Keller broke the word down and stated that the problem we have now is that we don’t want to just ‘sustain’. We’ve reached a point where we need to tackle the larger issue and regenerate what’s been broken. Sustainability has evolved hugely, and it needs to be viewed in the holistic sense, it’s about the health of the planet, our people, and society.

What’s driving the change?

Post-pandemic, the focus has become the quality of life. A sustainable workplace puts its people at its centre and keeps the team engaged. Sustainable commitments are at the forefront, not only to retain employees but to help recruit new talent – people are looking for employers that represent their own values.

What can we do?

Be transparent

Anne Simmonet pointed out that 1 in 2 environmental claims are incorrect so would urge companies to be as open and transparent about what they want to achieve and the steps they’re taking to do so. Being honest about these steps increases loyalty and trust in your community and with clients/suppliers. But be aware of the risks associated with greenwashing and making claims for the sake of it – this doesn’t help the planet, nor the company.

Share knowledge

For sustainable practices to succeed in the workplace, actions and terminology need to be understood by everyone in the team. The goal is to see sustainability as more ‘everyday’ so by increasing understanding of it, it can become more accessible and therefore, increases confidence in both the team and those we work with.


As a starting point, you can work with suppliers who share the same vision as you and follow sustainable practices. However, where we have relationships with suppliers who may be ‘behind’, we can work with them to engage and contribute towards a wider systemic change. Collaboration and the sharing of knowledge is essential and sustainability has a way of bringing people together as it affects all of us.

Make one small change

One small daily action can make a difference and we need to start somewhere. Encourage small changes such as turning off lights, reducing meat intake, cycling/walking to work. These are easy goals to start with and people will get a good feeling from knowing they’ve contributed, no matter how small it may seem. And over time, these small changes become habit and natural to us.

Top take outs:

  • Find something that resonates with your brand and see how you can add value
  • Be honest, humble and human
  • It’s an exciting time and it should be viewed as such!

Here at jellybean, we believe it’s never been more important to do what we can for the world we live in and we’re taking steps to become more environmentally friendly. We’ve got a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to in the future, stay tuned! To read about jellybean’s contribution, visit our ESG page here, and to watch Arena’s full webinar, follow this link.