Three ways to reduce your carbon footprint – Bar & Kitchen

Three ways to reduce your carbon footprint

With the Government setting 2030 as the date for the UK to reach 50% reduction in carbon emissions and aiming for net zero by 2050 (defined as a 90% reduction), it’s tempting to think there’s no need to rush. But climate change is happening now and, increasingly, customers are keen to support companies that are doing their bit. So where do you start? Here are three ways to reduce your carbon footprint – that are good for your business and good for the planet too.

What is net zero?

Net zero refers to achieving a balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. There are two different routes to achieving net zero, which work in tandem: reducing existing emissions and actively removing greenhouse gases.

When the amount of carbon emissions produced are cancelled out by the amount removed, the UK will be a net-zero emitter. The lower the emissions, the easier this becomes.

How can you help the planet and your business?

The first thing you need to consider is: less energy used means lower energy bills. Already, lowering your carbon footprint makes financial sense! There are plenty of easy changes you can make too:

  • Reduce the carbon footprint of your menu
  • Serve your delivered and takeaway food in compostable containers and cups
  • When you upgrade your appliances choose energy-efficient ones

Shorter supply chains and stock control

Being sustainable isn’t just about caring for the planet – it’s about making your business resilient and sustainable for the future too.

Adam Bastock runs Small99, an organisation that offers practical, easy to understand advice on net zero to small businesses. For him, sustainability starts at home: “Keeping your supply chain short is so important,” he says.

“As climate change accelerates it can really affect your access to fresh food. This year there’s been droughts in Italy and Spain affecting olive oil and salad production. If you’re overly reliant on international food for your menu you’re putting yourself at risk.”

Adam recommends seeking out local vertical farms, ensuring fresh produce without the food miles: “You need to think locally and smartly,” he says. “That way, you’re more in control and less exposed to risk and uncertainties.”

Adrian Valeriano, SVP and MD of EMEA at Lightspeed Commerce Inc – the one-stop commerce platform for merchants, which works to offset carbon for its own operations and for clients – suggests food inventory management. This is where ingredients are tracked through from order to serving on a customer’s plate. “It helps keep costs of goods sold and losses associated with food waste to a minimum while assuring that each customer gets fresh, quality produce,” he says.

“Just a 10% drop in a restaurant’s meat use could save 350 tonnes of carbon per year.”

Go meat-free

It’s not just the carbon we use in our fuels that we need to tackle. Emissions from livestock produce around 18% of the greenhouse gases, increasing the world’s temperatures. According to research by Bard College, beef production needs 28 times more land and 11 times more water than other livestock.

There are a number of ways to encourage less meat consumption. For example, menu design and pricing can play a part. “It might be beneficial to make vegan and vegetarian options cheaper, or even organise your menu in a way that meat options are the ‘extras’ in a way that some vegan options are now,” says Adam Bastock of Small99.

Another idea is ‘meatless Mondays’. You can still offer meat on the menu but concentrate your marketing on meatfree meals and trial some different meat substitute products – asking your customers to rate them after they’ve eaten the meal each week.

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