Carolyn Ball is Director for Delivery of Net Zero across Compass Group’s 7 sectors in the UK & Ireland and sits on the Sustainability Leadership Team for its FTSE 25 parent, Compass Group PLC; the largest contract foodservice company in the world, serving 5.5bn meals a year in 55,000 locations across 44 countries.
20 years’ experience in the food and drink industry spans news reporting, trade journalism, 15th Century manuscript transcription (recipes) and commercial roles in a start-up, SME and two PLCs.
Carolyn lives in Peterborough, is a wild swimming enthusiast, proud wife of a serving soldier and mum of three; two children and one giant St Bernard.
Why are you on board Future Food Movement?
The mission is inclusive and clear; essential for driving change across the interlinked crises facing our food system – not just climate, but biodiversity loss, global health, and social injustice.
How does Compass Food Group drive change?
In the UK&I we operate in over 4000 locations, connecting with millions of people every day. Our partnerships span generations, nations and regions. We look after people at work, at leisure, in education, defence and in a range of healthcare settings. This size and reach empowers us to have a game-changing influence through one of the most powerful, inclusive and vital vehicles on the planet: food!
Do you have any thoughts around what impact do you think consumers can have on the transition to a sustainable food system?
As the latest IPCC report reaffirmed, diet is the single biggest thing any of us can do to reduce our impact on earth so we know that consumers have a massive role in enabling change. We also know that revolutions are achieved not by fighting existing realities but by creating new ones, that are just so much better…
So instead of “pulling” people along, I think the food industry’s biggest opportunity is to unite and inspire; so the sustainable choice becomes the affordable preference not the expensive compromise. This makes the menu an ally for truly meaningful change and puts our chefs right at the heart of it. When we evidence and celebrate how great sustainable grub can be, we know it becomes a rallying call to arms everyone can run towards – and feel rightly brilliant about doing so. I think that’s when you start to really achieve *lasting* change at scale. As the Chinese proverb so wisely says: tell me and I’ll forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll learn.