The first FTSE 100 company to put environmental priorities on the menu

06 December 2012

The Soil Association is delighted to announce that Pearson PLC is the first FTSE 100 company to be serving meals to its UK staff that are guaranteed to be healthy, ethical and environmentally sustainable.

3,660 daily meals, served at six Pearson sites, now meet the Soil Association’s highest silver and gold Food for Life Catering Mark standards.

This means that Pearson staff can be confident they will be eating freshly prepared meals, free from undesirable additives, which encourage healthy food choices, support local producers, promote higher animal welfare standards and reduce environmental impact.

The awarding of the Catering Mark standards represents a major commitment on the part of Pearson to putting their corporate values at the heart of their staff catering.

Peter Hughes, Director of CSR at Pearson said:
“'More than ever before, we believe it is important for companies to take practical action to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and we identified how food is produced, and supporting sustainable, organic agriculture as having a significant impact on our environmental footprint.

“‘Our staff also want to be able to choose their favourite foods and drinks confident in the knowledge that we and our catering partners are doing our best to source from a sustainable food system – with food miles minimised, and organic and local produce prioritised.

“We’re delighted to have achieved the Catering Mark standards for our largest UK offices, and to be the first FTSE100 Company to have done so. Our catering partners and the Soil Association helped tremendously with our transition and we hope that more businesses will now support this initiative.”

Peter Melchett, Policy Director at the Soil Association said:
“Changing the food we eat at work can play a huge part in improving public health, and play a significant role in reducing companies’ carbon footprint.

As was once the case in schools and hospitals, workplace catering is a black-hole, ignored by most employers. Pearson are one of a handful of companies leading the way in providing healthier and more environmentally sustainable food for their employees - the first in the UK to be independently inspected and accredited.  We hope all British companies will follow their lead.”

Noel Mahony, Co-Chief Executive of caterer BaxterStorey, said
“We’re delighted to have been awarded the silver Catering Mark standard for our focus on working sustainably in our catering facilities at Pearson. The award helps the Pearson staff we serve to recognise that the food they eat at work is freshly prepared and sourced in an ethical and environmentally-friendly way.”

Sarah Hartland at Grayling, 02380 382970 or

Frank Bothwell, founder of caterer Thomas Franks, said
“This is only the start of the work that Thomas Franks will be undertaking with The Soil Association: we fully intend to cover much more of our business with these standards.”

Frank Bothwell 07843 346 559 / 01608 738 070

Notes for editors

About the Food for Life Catering Mark:
The Catering Mark was launched in February 2009 by the Soil Association to provide independent accreditation of menus on the key issues of healthy food, animal welfare, and environmental sustainability. There are currently 609,000 Catering Mark-approved meals served every day in the UK, including: 

  • 4,500 schools (currently serving half a million Catering Mark meals a day)
  • 192 children’s nurseries
  • 9 universities
  • 6 hospitals
  • 5 National Trust visitor sites
  • 1 parliament building (Stormont)

Details of the bronze Catering Mark standard. Details of the silver and gold standards.
For further information about the Food for Life Catering Mark, please contact:

Jennifer Stevenson | Communications & Marketing Manager | Soil Association Certification | Tel: 0117 314 5122 |

About Pearson PLC:

Pearson is the world’s leading learning company, providing print and digital learning materials and services used by more than 100 million students of all ages every year. It also includes The Financial Times Group, which has an international network of business and financial newspapers and online services that are read by millions of business executives and investors every day and Penguin Group, which is one of the pre-eminent names in consumer publishing, with an unrivalled range of fiction and non-fiction, bestsellers, and classic titles. Through its books, newspapers and online products and services, Pearson helps people of all ages to live and learn. See

Pearson was also the first global media company to commit to becoming climate neutral, a goal achieved on schedule in 2009 and have renewed every year since.  Learn more about our responsible business priorities at

About Pearson's caterers:
BaxterStorey are the UK’s leading independent food service provider for business and industry, supplying 3,500 silver-level Catering Mark meals a day to five Pearson sites around the UK.

Thomas Franks:

Thomas Franks are delighted to achieve the gold-level Catering Mark standard for Pearson’s Oxford Offices, confirming the company’s commitment to seasonal fresh food from local family-owned businesses, known provenance, UK produce and sustainable farming practices.

Bookmark and Share