Moving Boundaries

Flourishing: At FLORIS Catering, Sustainable and Economical Hospitality Go Hand in Hand

FLORIS is living up to its name. The green catering company aims to emphasise its ambitious quality goals and continue to develop sustainable catering. Second place in the METRO Award for Sustainable Gastronomy bears that out.  

The big picture: Together with her husband FLORIS Vlasman, who lent the firm his name, Kerstin Vlasman founded the Berlin event catering company FLORIS in 1994. It now ranks among the pioneers in the catering sector. FLORIS stands for sustainable, socially responsible and fair catering that sets itself apart through environmental protection, social and economic stewardship and sustainable company management.

However, thinking about sustainability not only in ecological but also in economic terms is both a challenge and an obligation for FLORIS – especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Only those who manage their finances well will survive in the long term. Sustainable hospitality is still often considered expensive. But by optimising energy efficiency and reaping the associated energy savings, finances can be much better managed. FLORIS uses its resources in a targeted way, such as by avoiding waste of all kinds – not only to do the right thing for society and the environment, but also to reduce operational costs.

For the entrepreneur couple, it is a matter of course to take responsibility for the environment and for their fellow humans. ‘For our children’s sake, we wanted to take responsibility for the world we will one day leave behind and stand as an example for the industry sector,’ says Kerstin Vlasman. ‘For us, the focus is on the regional sourcing and seasonality of the food, as well as on energy, the climate, water and waste. So in 2009, we decided to offset our CO2 footprint systematically with our partner KlimaInvest Green Concepts.’ Back in 2012, FLORIS was the first caterer in Germany to achieve 100% climate neutrality through the offsetting of all CO2 greenhouse gases relating to energy consumption (production/administration) and mobility. FLORIS also offers its customers complete offsetting for its catering services.

Waste-free enjoyment with ‘Zauberstreu’ and ‘Beste Reste Box’

For FLORIS, wasting food is out of the question. Leftover wine is processed into wine vinegar and vegetable scraps become ‘Zauberstreu’, available in the online shop to add a touch of magic to vegetable broth. Through documentation and analysis, portions have been successfully adjusted to the actual needs of customers. Guests can use the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s ‘Beste Reste Box’ to take home with them anything that hasn’t been eaten. And if anything else happens to be left over, the surplus food is donated to the Berlin food bank or Initiative Foodsharing e.V.

FLORIS primarily uses fresh raw ingredients. The foods, most of which are untreated, organic and fairly produced, often come from the Berlin wholesale store or from the surrounding area. Kerstin Vlasman says, ‘We select our suppliers and partners, who are preferably certified, very carefully. We live and breathe simple, healthy cooking, and first and foremost we approach producers from our region.’ As a green caterer, FLORIS also offers vegetarian and vegan dishes and would like to generally reduce the meat and fish selection.
Floris
© Photo Credit: Jan Voth
Catering
© Photo Credit: Jan Voth

Green electricity, energy-saving bulbs – and soon a blooming landscape

FLORIS had its lightbulb moment long ago: ‘We use only green electricity as well as energy-saving lightbulbs and movement sensors. We aim to raise our employees’ awareness of efficient heating and electricity savings. We are always working on improving our energy management and reducing our water and energy consumption,’ says Kerstin Vlasman.

In 2020, the company moved to Berlin’s Neukölln area, where they now have their own garden that measures over 500 square metres. In future, raised beds will be constructed here to grow their own herbs and lettuces, urban farming-style. To aid sustainable cultivation, there will also be a composter so food waste can be recycled onsite. The peat it creates can, in turn, be used as fertiliser. Plants will be watered with collected rainwater. Rising costs in the energy sector and for waste disposal make this kind of resource-saving operation attractive from a commercial point of view, too. Efficient energy management and energy-saving technologies save electricity and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. So despite the coronavirus crisis, Kerstin Vlasman is looking to the future with optimism. ‘The garden and the composter are our dream project. I can already picture it – a blooming landscape.’

METRO Award for Sustainable Hospitality

The METRO Award for Sustainable Hospitality invited restaurateurs to submit their green gastro-initiatives. The finalists selected by the specialist jury presented their concepts – online by video in 2020 – and faced a public vote. Held digitally due to the lockdown, the awards ceremony was part of the 2020 German Sustainability Day congress. First place was awarded to organic-vegan restaurant Bunte Burger from Cologne with its green gastronomic concept. FLORIS took second place, and third went to the employees’ restaurant at MAN Energy Solutions National & RENK AG in Augsburg. Further information:  www.metro.de/aktionen/nachhaltige-gastronomie.

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