Introducing our Sustainability Consultant, Nash Gierak

Nash came on board with Social Pantry as our Sustainability Consultant in the summer of 2021 as part of our commitment to being the greenest caterers on the block. Since joining forces with Nash, we’ve been reviewing all parts of our business model, from the sourcing in our supply chain, to working on exciting eco-collaborations, and making plans to launch a seasonal sustainable supper club.

Tell us how you came to be a sustainability consultant?

I was a professional touring and recording musician in the early noughties, which kept me very busy for about a decade. There came a point I wanted to settle down, so I went down the academic route as a mature student, and did a Bachelor’s degree, during which I was awarded a scholarship to do my Master’s. I absolutely love the research process, and the great thing is that those skills can be applied to any sphere.

As I was finishing my MA (and had just had my first child) I wanted to do something really meaningful, and have a tangible positive impact on society. It was also important to achieve a work-life balance being a parent, so I looked into setting up as freelance. Consulting as an independent advisor works especially well from a sustainability perspective too.

I started out by reading both broadly and specifically, looking at case studies, and developed my knowledge in what is an ever-evolving, urgent, and challenging area. It was at this point I started dipping my toes into social media too, and found a supportive community of like-minded people. It’s a great way of gauging the discussion around contemporary issues in real-time.

What is your personal sustainability philosophy?

Sustainability is a tricky thing. It’s a kind of “impossible maths”, a never-ending ethical conundrum. We all have such varied lived experiences and needs: there is no one size fits all solution. Therefore, whoever I’m working with, for me it’s all about providing a range of options, across a range of budgets.

Sustainability can certainly be seen as the harder way of doing things, which is why in my practice I gravitate towards minimalist values, streamlining and simplifying processes for clients where possible.

A lot of what I do is based on zero waste principles, so I’m interested in how pairing this with a minimalist approach can be used together to create cost, time, and space efficient solutions.

The sustainable space can be quite an idealistic space, which can quite often lead to burnout. The key is to be realistic and work gradually to build feel-good habits and strategies if we want to stay on track and see results.

Tell us more about sustainability and food!

Having Social Pantry contact me was something of a dream opportunity; I’m a foodie person from a foodie family, and it’s a real pleasure to combine these two passions of mine. Especially with such a socially-engaged and open-minded company.

Sustainability and food are inextricably linked; we all rely on it, and all of the systems involved in producing it, from agriculture, welfare, packaging, freighting, and provenance. These things have a direct impact on us as individuals, as well as at a community, and wider global level. By choosing to eat locally, and seasonally, and by supporting a transparent supply chain, it means we’re more likely to be making better choices for ourselves, and the people producing our food, while also respecting our natural resources.

Where can people find out more about what you do?

I have a website, which is especially useful for businesses, individuals, or brands that would like to work with me. I also have an Instagram account where I love to show sustainability in practice, in a realistic day-to-day context! Come and follow along, or drop me a line!