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Beyond Meals: Compass Group Spain’s Commitment to the Metastasis Challenge



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In June, we interviewed Mr. Daniel Berná, Head of Healthcare at Compass Group Spain, about Compass' support of IRB Barcelona’s Metastasis Challenge.

Daniel, tell us a little about your company…

Compass has been operating in Spain for over 60 years, with its headquarters located in Madrid and employing 12,000 people nationwide. Globally, Compass operates in more than 50 countries, leading the sector known as collective catering, providing food services to various groups. We serve five main market segments: education (from nurseries to universities), industrial canteens, residential care facilities and community centres, healthcare, and high-end events.

In terms of food services, the numbers are quite impressive. We prepare 85 million meals annually in Spain, serving 335,000 people each day.

I've been with Compass for 21 years and have held various roles during this time. As Head of Healthcare at Compass Group Spain, I lead a team of 2,200 people across 130 hospitals. It's truly an exceptional team!


Can you tell us something about the company's core values?

Compass is committed to high standards not only in product and service quality but also in social, ethical, and environmental responsibility. The Healthcare team is dedicated to making a positive impact on society through our sector, which is where our partnership with IRB Barcelona comes into play.


How did the relationship with IRB Barcelona come about?

A few years ago, in our healthcare sector, we launched a program called "Tú me importas" (You Matter to Me). This initiative, focused on humanizing our operations, was developed exclusively by our healthcare team and it focuses on the well-being of patients, users, clients, and especially our colleagues. 
The suggestion arose to do some action activity that would give something back to society. From here, we began to look for associations that had interests that caught the attention of this team. Then a colleague in Barcelona started investigating and visited IRB Barcelona. She told us about the Metastasis Challenge and we were immediately taken with the idea of supporting it.

What fundraising activity did you launch?

In 2022, we carried out our first fundraising activity by selling pots of fruit in our 60 hospital cafeterias. All proceeds from these sales go entirely to the Metastasis Challenge. We introduced the initiative to our cafeteria staff and the response was overwhelmingly positive. What started as 2 days of sales a year has now expanded to 2 weeks a year.

Will the fundraising activity of selling fruit continue in the same format?

We remain committed to IRB Barcelona. Moving forward, it would be useful to make the impact of our contributions more tangible. For example, the 2 euros from a pot of fruit could fund research on X Drosophila flies or provide resources for three test tubes of something. This would help people better understand the value of their support. We should also explore initiatives beyond the sale of fruit for two weeks and come up with another project for a third week.
This collaboration is only possible thanks to the hard work of our fantastic team that produces exceptional results, allowing us to continue.


Have you had the opportunity to visit the IRB Barcelona facilities?

Every year since we started supporting the Metastasis Challenge, we have visited IRB Barcelona. I have been there twice. During these visits, we tour the labs and receive insightful explanations about ongoing projects. These visits reinforce our commitment to supporting the Metastasis Challenge each year. This year, instead of a team visit like last year, we invited staff from the 10 centres that sold the most pots of fruit to visit IRB Barcelona. Their experiences are shared with their teams, highlighting the significance of their contributions to society.


What struck you the most during your visits?

What surprised me most was the philosophy of the team leaders. For me, the human element is key. I met people who spoke passionately about their work. I had never been in a laboratory of this type before. The people who attended us are admirable...they work day in and day out in relatively small spaces and with complete dedication for years to obtain results. It is impossible to be a scientist without a vocation. We left saying wow! In our daily operations, we see immediate results whereas scientists work tirelessly without knowing the outcomes of their efforts. Visiting IRB Barcelona is part of our engagement programme and staff are enriched by an experience that they would never have otherwise.


What would you say to a company considering a charitable initiative to support IRB Barcelona?

Every contribution, no matter how small, can make a difference in advancing the Metastasis Challenge and benefiting society. It's truly worthwhile.


About IRB Barcelona

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) pursues a society free of disease. To this end, it conducts multidisciplinary research of excellence to cure cancer and other diseases linked to ageing. It establishes technology transfer agreements with the pharmaceutical industry and major hospitals to bring research results closer to society, and organises a range of science outreach activities to engage the public in an open dialogue. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 researchers and more than 30 nationalities. Recognised as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence since 2011, IRB Barcelona is a CERCA centre and member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).