Food Made Good HK caught up with Ian MacCallum, F&B Manager at LRC (The Ladies Recreational Club), on the same evening the club celebrated an additional donation of HK$602,000 to its Charitable Foundation. This will boost the HK$1Million already donated by members at the LRC charity launch, a year ago.
They’ve everything to celebrate this year. As Hong Kong’s first private club to join the Food Made Good HK Membership programme, LRC undertook a thorough sustainability audit, calculated their environmental baseline, and identified key areas where they can make the most meaningful impact.
Guided by this, the club has upgraded its drinking water and energy systems, transformed its food waste processes and revitalised its menus. Over the last year, it has also worked tirelessly to build partnerships with the suppliers that best align with its eco values.
INITIATIVES THAT ARE BEARING GREEN FRUIT
By introducing Nordaq’s cost-effective water-filtration system, the club can now serve its own still and sparkling water to members, saving around 10,000 glass bottles per year. LRC now also sells electrolyte tablets to club members to drop into their reusable water bottles, saving almost 7,000 plastic sports-drink bottles annually from going to landfill.
With 78 panels installed to date, the club’s award-winning solar panel installation project will deliver a return on investment within five years. These panels currently supply enough energy to power the lights in the club car park, with future plans for powering the tennis courts. This pioneering project won Gold in the Hotels and Recreational Clubs category of the 2020 Hong Kong Awards for Environmental Excellence.
So what’s the secret to achieving so much, so quickly? Says MacCallum: “At LRC, it’s an education process that demands the entire team’s input. For example, the energy savings we’ve made from solar panels couldn’t have been achieved without the commitment of our Facilities Manager. We’ve also taken time to involve every team member and build trust throughout the entire company.”
Mums and dads, in particular, have got right behind the big projects that are boosting LRC’s sustainability rating. This is especially visible in the restaurant kitchens where the catering department is keen to demonstrate the new ORCA food waste disposal unit. This extraordinary machine digests scrap food and unusable leftovers converting them into a residual liquid that can power renewable energy projects.
LRC has also been promoting a more wholesome food culture by running cookery classes for children. Moreover, entire families have been invited behind the scenes to see Nordaq water bottles being filled, sealed and then refrigerated – ready for the next day.
SUSTAINABILITY IS THE DISH OF CHOICE
Menus at the different restaurants have also been adapted to reflect what’s in seasons and thereby better support Hong Kong farmers. The wasteful buffet meals – so much a part of pre-Covid food culture – have been cancelled. Now there’s a new emphasis on smaller, tastier and greener.
For example, the concept of Green Monday is well established in the club’s restaurants and staff canteen. Vegetarian versions of traditional dishes such as Dim Sum permanently feature on the menu. At the same time, local specialities are promoted during the table-booking process with chefs cooking up low-carbon choices using produce sourced from small independent suppliers. LRC suppliers are also being more carefully selected and strictly vetted.
All this ensures that new members know they’re joining a club that’s committed to environmental wellbeing that originates at source. Quality is everything. Eggs, for example, are now exclusively supplied by Eat The Kiwi – chosen for their commitment to natural, wholesome growing methods. Building a sustainable food culture at LRC requires partnering with suppliers who have the same vision and passion.
EVEN GREENER PASTURES AHEAD
Given these immense strides toward making the club more sustainable and eco-conscious, one might wonder what the goals are for 2022?
“Adding more solar panels and installing a larger ORCA system top the list,” says MacCallum.
“The first ORCA has been so successful that our new Family Clubhouse must have its own.”
Has he any disappointments during this remarkable year of change?
“Only that other clubs haven’t signed up to the Food Made Good auditing process – and aren’t reaping the benefits of embracing a more sustainable business future!”