Certified B Corporation Badge


Would you like carbon with that?

29 May, 2020

It is amazing to say it, but commitments to net zero carbon emissions are everywhere. But one important factor in meeting these targets is often missing: food. With 30% of global greenhouse gases coming from what we eat, is there a blind spot in our net zero ambitions? 

Our friends at the Sustainable Restaurant Association are stepping up. This year they are leading a collaborative effort to launch an ambitious new initiative: Net Zero Restaurants. Until now, the complexity of becoming truly net zero has been off-putting for the food service sector, particularly considering that the majority of a restaurant’s emissions are in its supply chain – scope 3 emissions. The Net Zero Restaurants initiative will take the pain out of the process, using a peer-reviewed methodology to profile the carbon impact of a restaurant, a menu and a single dish.  

But then what? First, nudges towards more low-carbon options. The visibility of a carbon cost of a steak verses a cauliflower will, for some chefs, provoke different decision-making. Second, offsetting what cannot be taken off the menu. Third, and crucially, voluntarily adding the cost of that offset to the diner’s bill. This is a bold proposition with a huge potential impact. Putting the carbon cost onto the menu – estimated at between 1p and 45p per diner depending on menu choice – means taking the environmental impact of food out of the shadows and into mainstream consciousness. 

Good Business director and SRA co-founder Simon Heppner’s article on the initiative appears in Edie’s Mission Possible: 2020 report, alongside a range of other sector-based investigations of the sustainability state of the nation. 

By Ben Wood

You might also like