The science about climate change is clear, and the time to make potentially radical changes to the way our businesses operate is now. While it’s easier for new businesses to establish green credentials by setting up new environmentally friendly practices, both new and existing businesses must also adapt their approach to ensure that the collective business community meets climate targets.
Here are some tangible actions your business can take to start curbing your carbon footprint:
Control your supply chain to limit deforestation
Common kitchen commodities like palm oil, timber, beef, soy and paper are all regularly sourced irresponsibly, causing mass deforestation. Unfortunately, forests are shrinking at an alarming rate, in 2017, one football pitch each second. If you need to use these products, use them in a way that minimises impact on the climate, like by only buying recycled paper.
Use this page to help determine which products contain palm oil so you can figure out what to cut out, reduce and replace.
Support reforestation projects
England is just 10 percent woodland, compared to France at 31 percent. 50 million new trees are planned to repopulate a new Northern Forest which will shadow the path of the east-west M62, from Liverpool in the west to Hull in the east.
A small percentage of your business’s profit could be harnessed to support this, or similar reforest projects, by emailing the Woodland Trust here.
A £100 donation to the Trees for Yorkshire campaign, for example, will net you the planting of 10 trees in an accredited site, and your business will receive:
- A certificate of dedication with a map showing where the site is
- Use of the White Rose Forest partnership logo for your promotional material
- Use of your logo on this site showing you as a sponsor
Switch to natural refrigerants and in your refrigerators and freezers, as this will help to protect the ozone layer and have a negligible impact on climate change. In the EU, all refrigeration must conform to the Minimum Equipment Performance Standards (MEPS), which scales from A to G, with A being the most efficient. Upgrade your refrigeration to ensure you meet the highest possible standards.
Donate surplus food waste
In the UK, 41% of all waste from pubs, restaurants, hotels and QSRs is food waste. This amounts to 600,000 tonnes of waste a year. According to Wrap, 0.4 million tonnes of this waste is avoidable.
Reduce your waste by signing up apps like Too Good to Go, which help cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs to sell off surplus goods to the pubic. TGtG claim they have prevented 27,364 tonnes of C02 being presented so far.
For a more chartable solution, charities like FareShare are fighting hunger by redistributing surplus food to those who need it most.
Around a quarter of people leave food at the end of their meal, with chips stated as the food most likely left. Recognise that customers often consider fries, vegetables and salads as an extra part of the main meal not asked for. Take portions into consideration and cut food waste off at the source.
You could also ask your front of house team to encourage customers to take their leftovers home with them.
Buying your produce seasonally, and as locally as you can will reduce the carbon footprint of your supply chain and making your business more environmentally friendly. Avoiding air-freight is a great place to start. Air-freighted foods emit up to 30 times more greenhouse gases compared to that shipped by boat.
Install induction hobs
They’re more environmentally friendly than gas and electric hobs because they only heat the pan surface, compared to gas and electric which heat the air around the pan, too. They also regularly include smart tech that knows when the pan has been removed, and switches off (good for safety, too).
While they were commonly thought of as commercially unviable and of poor quality compared to gas, they’re now quite reasonable, price-wise, and energy savings will surprise you, as they’re roughly 55% more efficient than gas cookers.
Design using environmentally friendly and recycled materials
Design can be a powerful instrument of change, and material choices can make the whole world of difference to your operation’s carbon footprint. Cub, in Hoxton, London, features tables made from recycled yoghurt pots, and pendant lights made from paper mulch and cork.
At Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant and Castle, the basic principles are ‘small is beautiful’ and ‘natural is good’. Their commitment to sustainability is key to this, with a zero-tolerance policy across the chain: recycled materials, no-frills, environmentally friendly layout, zero-waste operating and streamlined logistics, along with the selection of neglected spaces to assist in the redevelopment and requalification of the area.
Some simple steps you can take include:
- Using cloth linens for napkins and tablecloths
- Use non-disposable dishware
- Install Energy Star-qualified windows
- Use salvaged or reclaimed décor items
- Use furniture from rapidly renewable wood like bamboo
- Buy organic cotton rather than conventional cotton textiles
At CADA we would love to be your agent of change. We can source sustainable materials, introduce you to environmentally responsible suppliers and sub-contractors, and we can guide your menu to be as responsibly sourced as possible. Speak to us directly, here, to learn how to make your restaurant more environmentally friendly.