Edinburgh-based Hickory is an award-winning catering and events business with a focus on quality, creativity, innovation, and a track record for outstanding events. It believes that vivid memories are made in layers: the taste, the smell, the vision and the lasting impression.

In June 2021, Hickory was awarded the Green Tourism’s, Green Meetings accreditation for its corporate events and in recognition of its ongoing commitment to help tackling climate change.

Director of Business Development, Stephanie Lee, discusses how Hickory ensures its operations and supply chain are as green as possible and what the future of events looks like post-pandemic.

Stephanie Lee_Hickory Food

Stephanie Lee, Director of Business Development, Hickory. 

Sustainability as a culture

Sustainability is at the heart of Hickory. We set our own sustainability goals and recently achieved our target of becoming a digitally led organisation. We are now a completely paperless business and handle all of our operations on our online platform Hickory Hub.

Hickory Hub allows us to manage the entire infrastructure of the business and customer journey online. Our teams and clients can access and view information live on the hub, meaning we no longer need to create multiple versions of event plans, management information or briefing sheets.

As part of our ongoing commitment to being a sustainable business, we created our ‘Hickory Green Team’, which every team member is invited to join.

The Green Team, which was established in 2015, is an opportunity for the team to raise any concerns relating to sustainability and efficiency in their working department and suggest solutions as well as proposing new measures to improve environmental responsibility across the Hickory brand.

Clients and partners can be assured that when they choose Hickory as a caterer that their event will not make a big dent in landfill. We recycle more than 80% of all waste. Our cooking oil is recycled into biodiesel and our food waste is transformed into ‘green’ electricity and natural bio-fertilisers.

Scotland’s natural larder

We have a wealth of incredible produce in Scotland and at Hickory we are passionate about using and respecting locally sourced food at events.

Our talented chef team plan their menus around what produce is in season. The chefs speak with our local producers daily and are incredibly knowledgeable about what is in season, what tastes good and what our clients will love.

We are member of Scotland Food and Drink and are committed to buying local whenever possible, meaning that our purchases have only a short distance to travel ensuring quality, freshness and minimising our carbon footprint. We also purchase Fairtrade products wherever possible, in doing so supporting the development of thriving farming and worker communities across the world.

As a Green Tourism Gold member (which we have held for more than six years) we score and vet all suppliers to ensure they share our principles, have rigorous procedures in place and that they meet our high standards.

This includes looking at their health and safety operations, environmental practices and insurance. Not only do we have this questionnaire in place, but we visit our suppliers to ensure these processes are operated as stated. This not only provides peace of mind but guarantees we’re being transparent with our suppliers and clients.

Green business

Hickory is a key employer in East Lothian and we firmly believe in using local talent pools so work closely with local academic institutions and adopt a recruitment process that’s inclusive for all candidates. We are committed to staff development and to creating opportunities for students and graduates to work and progress within the company.

At Hickory we have a commitment to never use agency staff, a policy that no other caterer in Scotland has. Our team members are a key ingredient in our success, and we believe this approach guarantees consistency and first-class service.

Socially, we aim to be transparent and ethical in our approach. The team are passionate about the local area and want to make a difference. We regularly take part in community litter picking and take part in everything from beach clean-ups to local community Christmas lunches for over 65s.

Hickory’s portfolio

We have a very varied portfolio from corporate clients to hotels and iconic Scottish venues.

We work with several historic venues here in Scotland, which all bring unique challenges. A venue which was built hundreds of years ago needs to be treated with care and respect, and we are fully aware of the privilege of working in these historic buildings. Our sustainable approach to events means we try to limit our impact on the fabric of the building and the surrounding areas. When we leave, we want it to be as though we were never there – that’s the real magic of events.

Sustainability is at the heart of our business plan, and we demonstrate this through our robust Environmental Policy. This policy applies to our entire portfolio, and the key objectives can be applied to each venue or client in a different way, whether that’s sourcing local produce on the Isle of Bute for an event at Mount Stuart, ensuring all our packaging at open area events is eco-friendly or foraging for ingredients near our kitchen site in Musselburgh.

Conscious consumer

There is no doubt that over the past year, consumers have become more conscious of their impact on the environment. Our clients want to work with a sustainable business which matches their philosophy and needs.

As the events sector reopens, I believe we’re going to see high impact events balanced with low environmental impact, with COP26 being a prime example of this. All eyes will be on Scotland as it hosts this prestigious event in Glasgow, a city dedicated to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

To find out more visit - hickoryfood.co.uk