How can you communicate about your sustainable initiatives?
In today's world, a baker-entrepreneur must connect not just with their bakery and customers but also with the global community, emphasizing the significance of sustainability to show their commitment to caring for the Earth. It's time to convey that you, too, care about this!
You can tell a good story only if you know the main characters. That’s why it’s important as a sustainable entrepreneur to be well aware of who and what you are working with. Where do your ingredients come from, how were they produced and by whom? Japanese chefs like to say: ‘80% of cooking takes place outside the kitchen’. In other words, they give credit to all the work done by fishers, farmers, growers as well as the soy sauce makers and their knife sharpeners. The same is true of a bakery: everyone along the chain contributes to the bread or pastries that you sell. That is why it is important to get to know your suppliers’ story. Plunge into the philosophy of the farmer, check where your ingredients are grown and find out how they end up at your bakery. Once you can tell the entire story from field to bakery and know every step in the cycle, you have full control over the quality. Therefore, at Debic we attach great importance to traceability and transparency: we always know where our milk comes from and how the dairy farmers work. Thus, we can be confident in letting you work with our products.
In order to enhance traceability and transparency, including towards your customers, it is useful to choose producers whose background you are familiar with. At Debic, for example, we work closely with our dairy farmers. We know the farmers and their cows. We know where these animals live, what they eat and that they are given as few antibiotics as possible. Every three days, the milk given by these cows is picked up from our members with milk trucks and processed at one of our 65 production sites worldwide. We know who provides our products and how these are processed: this allows us to guarantee the quality and to tell all about our product range. Make use of this sort of knowledge and share the story of transparency in your own supply chain.
Use social media, your website or newsletter to show that you are working sustainably. For example, show images of your visit to a farmer or grower in your region, say something about your choice of sustainable packaging materials or post images of your own herb garden. If you have a digital screen in the store, show that you have solar panels on your roof, that you have a heat recovery system or use green energy. What may be obvious to you is not always so for your (potential) customers. Aim for transparency by literally showing what you are doing and who you are working with. Make it clear that you consider sustainability important. By sharing your enthusiasm and vision about this, you will generate respect and appreciation for your way of working.
Sixty per cent of food waste occurs at consumers’ homes. To indicate that you are concerned by the environment, you can offer your customers ideas on how to prevent food waste. For instance, share recipes via social media: explain how you can use old bread slices to make bread pudding, French toast or croutons for use in soups or salads. You may also want to turn products that you can no longer sell in your store into cake or bread pudding, and tell your customers about it, e.g. on social media or via special signs next to the product in your store.
Teamwork makes the dream work: everyone knows that. Involve your staff in your wish to be a sustainable entrepreneur. Make them aware of your commitment to prevent waste at every stage. Encourage them to turn the lights out in areas where no one is working, to take a close look at how to use leftovers from the baking process (who knows what else you can make out of them!) and to sort waste. Make sure that they know the correct way to store products and ingredients. Get them to think with you about your mission to produce as little waste as possible; this will foster engagement and creativity. If you explain the mission of working sustainably to your whole team, this will not go unnoticed among your guests.
Ensure that your wish to contribute to a better world is fulfilled all along the line. Don't run the air conditioning or heating with the doors wide open. Opt for the right packaging materials, including when you offer sandwiches or drinks to go. Be sure that you have thought critically about all your choices at the company: are you as sustainable as possible, and if not, do you know why not? In order to be able to tell your story, you have to be personally committed to the message and know why you are doing it.