16782481_shomeITALY: The world’s major catering equipment manufacturers’ associations have met to discuss a series of initiatives that could have far-reaching implications for the industry.

The inaugural Global Foodservice Equipment Summit was convened in Milan last month between the European Federation of Catering Equipment Manufacturers (EFCEM), the North American Federation of Foodservice Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) and the National Association of Food Equipment and Suppliers (NAFES), which covers Australia and New Zealand. Also participating is FCSI EAME, the Foodservice Consultants Society International of Europe-Africa-Middle East.

The associations are seeking international solutions to challenges that face the global food industry, ranging from the need to meet climate change commitments to the increasing regulatory burdens on equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

With the United Nations climate change conference scheduled for the end of November, the Summit tasked EFCEM with producing a white paper on the Circular Economy Package, focusing on how to make equipment more sustainable.

The group points out that this has implications, for example, in the design of products to ensure servicing and maintenance are as easy as possible: A* energy-rated products will only stay A* if they are looked after. Similarly, products must use more recyclable parts, so that new equipment is built from raw materials harvested from old.

The summit also agreed that international cooperation will lead to the pooling of resources, data and statistics. A framework is being developed for statistics gathering, to make sure that data is compatible. Similarly, a work party is being set up to ensure that industry definitions are understood – so that the same question is being asked in different areas.

At a time when it is increasingly complex to keep up with international standards and regulations, the Summit agreed to a Global Liaison Committee to investigate the implications for manufacturers and look into the possibility of establishing international standards.

There will also be international cooperation to establish global standards for BIM – including recommendations on the software used to create BIM models.

The skills shortage and the need to develop industry leaders for tomorrow are critical issues around the world. Representatives at the summit agreed to the development of joint training and education programmes – ranging from the further expansion of the CFSP (Certified Food Service Professional) accreditation scheme, which is designed to raise the level of professionalism in the industry, to the development of courses designed to help new employees get the most from their work.

The next Global Foodservice Equipment Summit is planned to take place during Hotelympia 2016 in London at the end of February.