Matthijs Simons

The golden tip for sustainability

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Out tip to make guests enthusiastic about our sustainable story: be positive. It is the only story that really works well. Business Unit Manager Matthijs Simons learned this from personal experience. How to inspire your guests without forcing them into sustainability?

When you ask Matthijs about the sustainable projects for his clients, his face lights up. There are simply too many to mention. “At various locations, we offer Wilder Land tea. The tea plants grow on strips of land that is not used by farmers. With one client, we work closely with their Green Team. On another location we test recyclable salad bowls from Circulware.” Matthijs has many examples. The one thing they have in common is the collaboration with the client. “It is incredibly powerful to be able to communicate from the employer’s perspective.”

Wilderland Thee
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Changing society in a positive way

Broadly, Matthijs’s clients can be divided into two categories: (semi-)public organizations and companies with impact. Think of municipalities and provinces, charities, or companies like Triodos Bank. Matthijs says: “All my clients want to make a positively change to society. They all have their own ways to do that.” One of the NGOs, for example, enjoys Suzanne Ausum’s vegetarian cuisine. She has never eaten meat herself, so she knows better than anyone how to prepare nutritious and delicious food without animal proteins. Even organizations with a less obvious environmental impact do everything to spread the positive message. VodafoneZiggo in Utrecht was the very first location that worked with Orbisk, the system that measures food waste. You can ask the hearing-impaired barista for your favourite coffee in sign language, and the catering teams follow CO2 trainings.

Communication is essential

Communication is essential when we want our guests to understand our Food Vision 2027. It is all about bringing a positive message, Matthijs learned from experience. “Our guests want to make their own choices. Words like ‘meatless’ on days when there is no meat or fish on the menu, are not well received. This makes guests feel like something is being taken away from them. It is better to promote what is there.”

Predicting the future: radical becomes the new normal 5 years from now

For Matthijs, connection is everything. He hopes to inspire both existing clients and new contacts with his enthusiasm. Because, he says, things that we find radical now may well be the new normal in five years from now. We are moving towards a society where not everything will always be available. A society with a different perspective on meat consumption. It is very helpful to learn from each other and keep telling the sustainable message as positively as possible."

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