A MAJOR Conwy firm is to play its part to focus on elements of sustainability in the supply chain.

Castell Howell Foods is collaborating with Wales’ largest independent contract caterer, Just Perfect Catering Ltd, to devise a lower carbon menu – and create a sustainability blueprint for suppliers and customers.

Working with Castell Howell suppliers, including Llannefydd-based Llaeth Y Llan, the initiatve will also focus on other elements of sustainability in the supply chain, such as biodiversity and nature stewardship, community engagement and reduction of plastics.

The need to rise to these challenges has been recognised by the Welsh Government, which in 2020 launched the Food & Drink Wales Sustainability Cluster.

The Cluster supports and helps develop sustainable business practices across Wales’ agri-food industry and aims ‘to make Welsh food and drink the most sustainably produced in the world, and shout about it’.

Likewise, agricultural industry stakeholders are focussing more on sustainability themes, including the NFU Cymru Net Zero 2040 commitment and Hybu Cig Cymru- Meat Promotion Wales’ environmental blueprint for the livestock sector (The Welsh Way).

The partnership wants to integrate the supply chain, whereby suppliers, stakeholders, intermediaries and caterers’ targets are aligned in a structured programme.

Several of Castell Howells’ suppliers and customers are already on a journey to build sustainability into their businesses.

Moving forward with this aim, the partnership with Just Perfect creates a blueprint for suppliers undertaking such steps.

Kathryn Jones, sales director at Castell Howell Foods, said: “The sustainable food movement has become a driving factor in consumers’ decisions to ensure that our resources can continue to provide food to feed the growing population today and in the future.

“The food and beverage industry faces unique challenges regarding sustainability. We look forward to collaborating to address these issues.”

Louise Owens, director at Just Perfect Catering, added: “Since the inception of Just Perfect Catering, our focus has been on how sourcing food from Wales impacts the local economy and communities.

"Also, how this translates to an assurance of high quality, fully traceable food for our customers.

“This underpinning ethos, with an unrivalled commitment to using Welsh produce, has ensured that we continue to lead in our industry.

“Over 90 per cent of our produce comes directly from Welsh suppliers, and we’re excited to be expanding this further by strengthening our partnership with Castell Howell and their network of Welsh suppliers.”

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The first phase of the Castell Howell supply chain initiative includes working with the Rees family at Bryn Helygan Farm, Pendoylan, as they work towards the NFU's Net Zero 2040 target.

The Vale of Glamorgan farm has been a Celtic Pride Premium Beef supplier for several years, and farmer Ed Rees said: “We believe that Welsh farming is one of the most sustainable systems in the world. Our cattle are extensively reared, and we manage some 50 acres of woodland and extensive hedgerows.

“Measuring our environmental impact and understanding how to manage and reduce works towards NFU Cymru’s Net Zero 2040 target. We look forward to seeing how this will be communicated to the end-user.”

Simultaneous work with Authentic Curry Company, Llaeth Y Llan, and Radnor Hills will aim to establish a responsible supply chain and promote these benefits on menus developed by Just Perfect Catering.

Business in the Community (BITC) will deliver the scheme's training and monitoring.

Sue Husband, director of BITC Cymru, said: "We are pleased to be working collaboratively with Castell Howell Foods to deliver social and environmental benefits at scale while creating business value.

"Together we are working with Castell Howell's supply chain to equip them with information and support to help them make more sustainable choices.

“Responsible businesses across Wales could follow the example of Castell Howell and use their purchasing power to select and engage suppliers and business partners to foster local economic growth while driving resilience and environmental sustainability.”