Socially Responsible: Tenzo Values

As part of our new values revamp, ‘values squads’ were formed for each of our five values to focus on how we can better live Tenzo values. We’ve already covered our first value ‘Always experimenting and learning’ in our previous blog, and today we’re spotlighting our second squad - ‘Socially Responsible’.

When we originally renewed our values last year, many on the team were keen to include a value that would keep us ecologically accountable - after all one of Tenzo’s main goals is to reduce the huge amount of food waste in the restaurant industry. We soon realised, however, that we weren’t just passionate about the environment but about many different social causes and wanted our value to encompass all these passions. Our ‘Socially Responsible’ value was born.

What is ‘Socially Responsible’?

Socially responsible logoAs we assembled this new squad, we first wanted to define what we understood by ‘socially responsible’. We knew that we wanted to include environmental issues as this was something that Tenzo was built on, but we also wanted to make sure that we devoted time to other social issues.

We work with restaurants and as such, thought it would be more powerful to address issues faced in the wider f&b industry. We considered business interests, like actively working with businesses that pay living wages, treat their employees fairly, and that we are proud to be associated with. The restaurant industry also traditionally employs immigrants who are facing increased xenophobic and racist attitudes, so we wanted to discuss what we could do as a company to help.

We also looked at what we could do for the planet. Food waste is a huge carbon emitter, in fact, if it were a country, food waste would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China. Tenzo is in a unique position to stop the generation of some of that waste, in fact we recently got funding from Innovate UK to further develop our forecasting solution which will eventually save 4.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted.

What we were already doing

So once we had defined our value more concretely, we looked at what we already did that lived that value. Recently, we switched all of our employees’ pension provider to an ESG (environmental, social and governance) fund that only invests when the investments meet these high standards. This change alone is apparently 21 times more effective at reducing your carbon footprint  than giving up flying, going veggie and switching energy provider combined, according to Make My Money Matter.

In terms of Tenzo’s carbon footprint, our servers are what contribute most to it. We use AWS data centres to host our database however, we can choose which data centre to run the majority of our data through. We specifically use the AWS data centre in Ireland where they plan to be powered exclusively by renewable energy by 2025.

tips and tricks for social responsibilityTips and tricks shared with the team

But beyond these somewhat passive actions - we don’t have to make active decisions about our pension contributions each month or think about the data warehouses we use on a daily basis - we weren’t actively seeking out ways to live more responsibly.

The squad saw this as an opportunity, there was space to expand the team’s thoughts and activities by bringing the types of issues we wanted to address to the fore.

Next steps

The challenge was actually trying to narrow the scope of what we could do. There are so many issues that we are passionate about as a team, but we felt we could have the biggest impact on problems facing restaurants (like food waste or Brexit as examples) than other social issues. Further, since we are all currently working from home, we felt like this could be a good opportunity to introduce new habits not just at work but in our personal lives as well.    

When it came to deciding how we should approach this value, we realised that we needed to separate our goals into big and small ones. As an example, significantly reducing food waste in the industry is a big goal and takes a lot of work on a long term basis. We discussed the possibilities of building solutions into the Tenzo platform by incorporating food waste eliminating features or food bank donation goals, for example. These are things we want to include eventually but will need to be developed from the ground up, taking a lot of time and  not something we could do in the near term.

However, we also had small goals that we could achieve to make our difference as a company now. We devised a list of monthly themes that we could all participate in as a team. Not only would this be a great way of living our values, but also give the team a common goal to work toward while we’re not seeing each other as often as we might like - a bonding type activity if you will.  

Our monthly themes

Veggie deliciousnessSome deliciously veggie meals made by the Tenzo team

So far we’ve had a vegetarian awareness month to encourage more veggie forward meals and reduce our meat consumption. We’re currently in the middle of single-use plastic reduction month, where we try to reduce the amount of plastic waste we generate. And we’ve planned a zero food waste month next, where we’ll attempt to reduce the amount of food thrown away.

We share tips and tricks, recipes, photos and more with each other as the month goes on. It’s been both a fun and rewarding experience so far.

veggie deliciousnessMore veggie meals from the Green Roasting Tin

Future plans

In terms of the future, we plan to continue our monthly themes, but as we move back into a hybrid working model, we’ll be making sure that our office enables our socially responsible value. That will include having dedicated recycling bins for things like plastic bags and other difficult to recycle items like shampoo bottles that the team can bring in from home, finding a carbon neutral space, and having dedicated conference rooms for remote customer meetings rather than constantly traveling to meetings.

Once it’s safe to do so Covid-wise, we’ll also be encouraging group volunteering where members of the team will get together to volunteer their time to causes which are important to us.  

We’re also keen to work with customers and partners with like-minded values, helping them with publicising their efforts on our platforms as well. We already work with the likes of The Vurger Co, and Angelina who are all dedicated to sustainability in their own ways, but we’d like to expand that list.

That’s it so far, but we are committed to keeping this conversation open, always looking for new ways to be socially responsible and getting the squad back together every quarter to keep us accountable. Check back in soon for our next value spotlight: Passionate about our people.

Cover photo by Tyler Casey on Unsplash

Elizabeth Norton

Written by Elizabeth Norton