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Whitbread Sustainability Report 2016/17


We've committed to reducing carbon by 15% (against a new 2014 base line)

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Responsible Sourcing

We recognise that we have a responsibility to ensure sound social, ethical and environmental practices within our own operations, supply chain and in every market in which we operate.

That means working with suppliers who can meet the quality and quantity of product we require. Crucially, it also means that we only want to work with suppliers who share our values and source their products responsibly according to the standards we set, which include upholding human rights, food safety, ethical sourcing and animal welfare legislation, supply chain security to minimise food fraud, and not polluting the environment.

To install these practises throughout all stages of our supply chain, we have worked closely with our suppliers to establish a responsible sourcing strategy. As part of this, we also worked with sustainable practise experts, appropriate NGOs and relevant legislation to indentify and create definitive policies for ten high risk commodities, Meat, Fish, Soy, Sugar, Cocoa, Tea, Coffee, Palm Oil, Timber and Cotton.

We have invested in a tailored system working with one of our partners CRedit360, to ensure policy adherence and transparency through our supply chain. This system will ensure all of our suppliers are present within a rigorous database, monitored using a sophisticated risk rating method, and audited when necessary.

Read more about the development and monitoring of our responsible sourcing policies: 'Whitbread Commits to Supply Chain Best Practice'

Animal welfare is crucially important to us as a business which means working with suppliers who can demonstrate their management of good animal welfare back to farms. This is why Whitbread has committed to achieving 100% cage free status on all whole shell eggs by the end of 2020 and to sourcing 100% cage free eggs for all ingredient egg products by 2025 across all its brands in the UK and Germany.

We recognise our responsibility to ensure high welfare standards are met throughout our supply chain and that the welfare of the animal continues to be a priority. We are proud to be a business that sets itself these high standards and who demonstrates a proactive approach to this issue.  

Read more about how we have committed to ensuring our suppliers operate in conjunction with robust animal welfare standards.



Whitbread’s critical product commodities will be 100% accredited against robust standards

Responsible Sourcing Commodities

Cocoa, Tea and Coffee

As the UK’s largest coffee shop chain and with over 1,100 stores across 30 countries overseas, we sell 420 million cups of coffee a year around the world.

Costa has worked with the Rainforest Alliance since 2008 and today 100% of the coffee beans sourced for all our drinks come from Rainforest Alliance certified farms. This includes coffee beans for Costa’s ‘at home’ range of roast and ground and Tassimo products and Twinings Everyday Tea that is served in our UK stores.

Since March 2014, Costa hot chocolate, our biggest selling chocolate based drink, has used 100% Rainforest Alliance cocoa powder, making Costa the first coffee shop brand to have coffee, tea and hot chocolate from Rainforest Alliance certified sources. Our new premium chocolate drink, Belgian hot chocolate, which was launched in March 2014, is supplied by Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest supplier of Belgian chocolate, and is sustainably sourced from cocoa farmer cooperatives in West Africa.


Timber is at the heart of many properties that we build and operate. Our new Premier Inn hotels and restaurants regularly utilise timber frames in their design and construction, and we source many thousands of items of wood-based furniture for our Costa coffee shops.

We are committed to promoting the sustainability of forests and responsible sourcing of natural resources, whilst complying with national and local legislation relating to sourcing practices. We welcome the enforcement of the EU Timber Regulations and consider the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC to be the most comprehensive, widely recognised and accepted forest products certification systems globally. In April 2014, we announced our commitment to only use the products and services of Structural Timber Association members in all future timber-based projects, which ensure materials and services of the highest quality are certified to FSC and PEFC standards and are priced competitively.

Costa uses around 300 million takeaway paper cups a year. These all come from card made of PEFC sustainable wood pulp from forests in Northern Europe. The thermal cover is made of recycled content and the lid is 100% recyclable.

Palm Oil

Palm oil production poses significant social and environmental risks, including land conversion leading to loss of biodiversity, and carbon dioxide generation. It is also a highly complex supply chain, where supply is often intermingled at every stage of production, making it difficult to trace and influence the conditions under which 100% of palm oil supply is sourced.

Although all our restaurants’ kitchens now use rapeseed oil for cooking, we remain consumers of palm oil, as it is included in many of the products we source. We’re committed to continually increasing the amount of sustainable palm oil in our supply base and using an independently verified international multi stakeholder certification process (RSPO) to assure procurement of the most sustainable materials. In the past year we have been working with AAK (one of the world’s largest vegetable oil manufacturers) to build a sustainable Palm Oil Policy. This collaborative approach is to ensure that our Palm Oil Policy is both realistic and achievable for our suppliers to adhere to.


World fish stock and marine habitats are increasingly vulnerable due to an increase in fishing and in particular, the use of irresponsible and unsustainable fishing methods. We are working alongside our suppliers to ensure that all fish and seafood in our supply chain continues to be sourced sustainably, using responsible fishing methods that ensure marine ecosystems and healthy population levels of targeted species are protected in order to safeguard future fish and seafood supplies.

On our menus, we have both wild-caught and farmed fish, which are certified by different organisations. Where we source wild-caught fish such as cod and haddock, this is always certified against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard. For our farmed fish such as prawns, we make sure that this is certified to the equivalent Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), GlobalGAP or BAP standards.

Ensuring the fish we source comes with this third party accreditation of sustainability provides a level of assurance to both our customers, and us, but we like to go one-step further. Our responsible sourcing policy for fish outlines the specific conditions we expect our fish to be sourced under, beyond the certification schemes. We work with our suppliers through our responsible sourcing platform, cr360, to measure performance against this policy, and drive improvement where required. 



At Whitbread, we have undertaken a number of measures to ensure our customers can be the utmost confidence in the integrity of our meat products. This includes imposing an industryleading set of quality control standards on our suppliers, which means we can trace the origin of all of our meat products. We also conduct rigorous and regular independent testing of our products and, as a result, have one of the strictest testing regimes in the industry.

We require that all of our suppliers comply with animal welfare legislation as a minimum requirement and they are expected to source their products from farms that uphold the principles of the RSPCA’s Five Freedoms to ensure the health and welfare of animals throughout our supply chain.

Animal Welfare

As a responsible company, we understand that animal welfare is important and that our guests expect us to work with our suppliers to ensure that responsible welfare standards are in place. 

Our animal welfare policy is applicable to all suppliers of beef, pork, lamb, poultry, dairy, eggs and fish, and they are required to demonstrate management of good animal welfare back to farms. We will only buy meat from suppliers who can demonstrate that they comply fully with UK and EU animal welfare legislation and that they adhere to the Farm Animal Welfare Council's (FAWC) Five Freedoms, a globally recognised set of principles which supports the protection of animals for farming purposes. 


In the UK, Costa uses Red Tractor assured sugar for its sugar sachets. The Red Tractor assurance ensures that the sugar is from UK grown British sugar beet and travels minimum miles from field to factory. It also guarantees that it is produced by UK farms that meet production standards on safety, hygiene, animal welfare and the environment.


Cotton represents nearly half the fibre used to make clothing, linen and textiles worldwide and 75% of the world’s production comes from developing countries in Asia and Africa. With massive quantities of water and chemicals needed for cotton production, it is important that the cotton used within our supply chain is ethically and sustainably sourced. Working with key expert organisations such as the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), we are ensuring that our Responsible Sourcing and Sustainable Cotton policies reflect industry best practice and that our suppliers comply with them at all times.


Soya milk, as an alternative to cows’ milk, is an important part of our Costa business and we’re determined that we can not only source soy in line with our Responsible Sourcing Policies, but that we also don’t need to compromise on the taste and quality of the product. We’re working hard with our soy suppliers to understand the journey soy takes from the field all the way into the delicious drinks our customers know and love within Costa.

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