We are based in the heart of leafy East Dulwich, but we know that in London, green space can often be at a premium.  Many of us are reassured by the knowledge that we can easily escape to the countryside for a scenic nature break. Or can we?  We know that our lifestyles, our reliance on cars and our increased use of electrical devices is having an adverse effect on our planet… and our ignorance to its gravity means there is little light at the end of tunnel… literally.

We cannot run our business without our vans or our business premises, so we have taken steps to do something positive for the environment to offset the impact our business has on the environment:

Tree Appeal

Since September 2006, Suzanne James Catering has been working in partnership with The Tree Appeal in order to counteract the carbon emissions we generate and to ensure the conservation of our woodlands.  Each time we use our vans to travel to an event, a British broad-leaved tree is planted in our client’s name.  We also give them the option of planting a further 3 trees in order to make their event ‘carbon neutral’.  As a result, we are delighted to say that so far we have planted over 700 native British trees!  Thank you to each and every client who has helped us to do this… a list of all our contributing clients can be found here.

In 2007, Sir David Bellamy OBE presented Suzanne with an award, in recognition of the company’s partnership with The Tree Appeal.  In addition, Sir David invited Suzanne and Graham to King’s Cross Station to plant trees together at a nature reserve behind the station.

Trees for Schools

Does your school want to plant trees linked to environmental education? In partnership with The Tree Appeal we might be able to supply you trees free of charge! To see if you can provide a good home for some trees, we need to know a few things about your project. If you qualify then saplings can be delivered to your school free of charge, including canes and protection!

We want to encourage schools to make the most of their grounds by planting trees. This helps create woodland habitat, increases biodiversity and, most importantly, provides an excellent learning resource; – planting the trees, watching them grow, seeing how wildlife is encouraged, charting the changing seasons and weather.

Schools who receive trees from us can, if they wish, use the donation as a class project, keeping records of growth and seasonal changes.  It is also possible to sign up to a special online database where growth statics and comments on their own environmental activities can be recorded.  It’s a great way for children to get involved and understand the environmental issues of today.

To find out if your school qualifies for free trees there are a few simple things we need to check:

Firstly, we need to be confident that the location for our trees is ‘permanent’. Although we realise there are never any guarantees it is important to remember that the Tree Appeal’s focus is on habitat creation, biodiversity targets and social benefits. So, we need to be sure that our trees will be planted where they have the best chance of reaching their full potential.

Next, we need you to describe your project for us in simple terms. It doesn’t need to be an essay, just a few lines. Things we like to know are, for example:

* Where exactly is it? Do you have an OS map reference?
* Why are trees being planted?
* Is it accessible to the public?
* Is it part of curriculum activities?
* Will it help meet local biodiversity targets?
* Are there any rare or special species locally?
* Is it a Site of Special Scientific Interest or similar?

Finally, we need you to send us some photos of the trees being planted, which we would love to include in our monthly newsletter – with your permission of course!

A Sustainable Heritage – Garden Museum

We love getting involved in as many ethical and environmental projects as possible around London.  In 2011 we joined forces with The Garden Museum in Lambeth and offered to support their Heritage Lottery funded project “A Sustainable Heritage”.

The aim of the project is to develop a training programme about sustainability for young museum professionals. This is the first scheme of its type in the UK so it is a very exciting project to be involved in and we hope that more will develop across the country as a consequence.

We support the training of four students (1 per year over 4 years) and equip them with the skills to be able to place sustainability firmly on the map at the museum. We dedicate one day a month to teaching the trainees about sustainable catering.  We are now in our second year and feel that is has already been a worthwhile investment of our time. Both our students to date have grasped a good understanding of the principals of sustainability and how to execute it in their own work culture.

Here is what our first student had to say at the end of her year with us:

“I have felt it an absolute privilege to work with you and the rest of the team; you have been so much of my inspiration through the last year. My two major projects Zero Waste to Landfill and EcoWeddings have been inspired and influenced by you. You have given me so much hope that my dream of a sustainable society is actually 100% achievable and for that I am truly thankful!”

Jade- Lauren Cawthray, Trainee in the Sustainability of Heritage