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NCASS: Spearheading Sustainabiliy in the Industry since 1987

The UK's Sole Trade Association for Event and Street Food based Caterers:

As the only Trade Association for Event and Street Food based caterers in the UK and comprising 4000+ members, NCASS are wholly committed to both minimising the catering industry’s ecological footprint; as well as rewarding caterers for whom sustainability is a priority. Our indubitable position as a key influencer within the industry is not a responsibility which we take lightly and as such we have developed several projects with the sole focus of increasing Green Practices within the wider catering industry.

Sustainability Matters:

Now more than ever, it is vital that all of us in the industry comply with sustainable practices – both the events and mobile catering industries are notorious contributors to our planet’s ecological plight. Research led by Scientists at the Oxford Martin School found that cutting down meat consumption within accepted health guidelines would make a large dent in greenhouse gases. Adhering to said guidelines has the potential to cut global food-related emissions by almost one third by 2050, while widespread vegetarianism would reduce emissions by an astonishing 63%. Of course we are not advocating an unabridged reduction of meat consumption (just try and keep us away from The Rib Man or Low ‘n’ Slow) but increased options for vegetarians would be a step in the right direction, at the very least.

 The Show Must Go On report, which was created in direct response to the Paris Climate Agreement by a not-for-profit industry working group made up of event organisers, infrastructure providers and event suppliers, found that there were substantial grounds for change in the field. The report, which was based on 279 UK Summer music festivals, found that the industry is responsible for approximately:

  • 20 kilo tonnes of C02e annually (onsite emissions)

  • 100 kilo tonnes of C02e annually including audience travel

  • 23,500 tonnes of waste

  • 5 million litres of diesel consumption

The report called on festival organisers and industry stakeholders to commit to taking physical action in the shape of signing up to the Festival Vision 2025. It’s a pledge to achieve a 50% reduction in annual festival-related GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions by 2025. You can find out more about it or sign up yourself at

With nearly 50 festivals already signed up to the pledge, along with numerous stakeholders and suppliers, it’s safe to say that the report is clearly already having an impact. And now it is our responsibility as an industry to widen participation, make good on those pledges and deliver a more sustainable festival industry in the UK.

NCASS Co-found Pioneering Sustainability Projects:

Not only do NCASS sit on the steering group for ‘Powerful Thinking’ i.e. the very company which produced the report, it has too responded with fervour to the report’s critical call to action.

Most recently, NCASS co-founded 8th Plate – a food waste project created with a view to diverting uncooked food from landfill to people living in food poverty. The project salvaged 27.5 tonnes from just 7 festivals in 2015; that’s a staggering 155,000 meals. We also developed the first online sustainable catering course with the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Are we there yet?

It’s clear that a shift towards sustainability within the industry is in everyone’s best interests. The impact which climate change has on our planet is felt intimately in the mobile catering and events industries with adverse weather conditions impacting outdoor events directly in a number of ways, such as audience experience, travel disruptions, and the additional costs incurred by weather-proof infrastructures and contingencies.

There has been a notable shift towards sustainability across the field of late, with festivals such as Shambala both developing and employing sustainable strategies such as a ban on Meat and Fish across their entire site. Glastonbury too has taken vital steps in the right direction and has previously worked in partnership with NCASS to bestow Green Traders Awards to environmentally conscious caterers at the festival each year.

Most recently, The Soil Association have proposed changes to their Food for Life Catering Mark – caterers currently awarded Gold & Silver standards for their food product will be forced to reassess the nutritional value and environmental impact of their product if they wish to retain their coveted standard. We have been incredibly encouraged by such efforts and will continue striving to develop both self-governing sustainable practices, thereby leading by example; as well as encouraging our peers to do the same. Watch this space!

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