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