How the shift is moving towards sustainability in the restaurant industry

There is a sense of urgency around issues of sustainability today. From the recent actions of Extinction Rebellion, to the wealth of reports and research that reveal the scale of the environmental issues the world is facing, it’s no longer simply enough to pay lip service to being an eco business. As a result, there is a big shift taking place towards more sustainability in the restaurant industry – at all levels and across almost every business type.

Sustainable Restaurant Association research

Recent research from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) indicates that the UK ranks 24th in the world in terms of global food sustainability. The research focused on the industry in 2018 and what businesses within it were doing to improve sustainability. It also identified the challenges that the sector faces and how restaurants in the UK were responding to those challenges. Key to this was how prepared the sector is to make sustainability more of a priority. The research was compiled with insight across the industry, including from some of the most significant food businesses in the UK.

Sustainability and resources

A ranking of 24th for a country that is currently the fifth largest economy in the world in GDP terms isn’t particularly impressive. It’s partly this contrast between sustainability and resources that has created a significant shift towards making this a priority for the UK restaurant sector. Andrew Stephen, Chief Executive of the SRA said that it’s no longer acceptable for any restaurant to just talk about being a sustainable business without looking at the broader environmental issues. He said, “If we don’t fix food, we can’t fix climate change.”

Sustainability for the restaurants of the future

The potential impact that the restaurant sector can have on the UK’s response to the need for greater sustainability in business is huge. There are already many initiatives under way to help make the hospitality sector a better and more responsible environment when it comes to eco issues. Costa Coffee, for example, has tackled the problem of non-recyclable cups. The drinks giant has established a scheme, which sees it working with makers of its cups to try to find a way to make 100 million cups a year recyclable.

Real restaurant goals

“Improving sustainability” often seems like a rather vague concept with not much to quantify performance against. However, now there are real goals for the UK thanks to WRAP’s Plastics Pact and Food Waste Reduction Roadmap and the Cool Food Pledge from the World Resources Institute. The SRA is pushing for more engagement with these standards, as well as:

  • Adhering to a target to reduce food related greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter by 2030
  • Cutting foodservice sector food waste by a quarter by 2025
  • Ensuring that all four targets set out in the Plastics Pledge are met

The restaurant industry today not only has good reason to work towards a more sustainable future but also the goals to aim for. That’s why such a dramatic shift is currently taking place across the sector. At RG Group we believe it’s crucial to stay on top of issues like sustainability – contact us to find out how this translates into our construction projects.

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