In a world increasingly conscious of its carbon footprints, the spotlight is now turning towards an industry that's been sizzling in the background - restaurants.
Beyond thinking about the mouth-watering aromas, delectable dishes, and unique cocktails, restaurant owners are looking at the environmental impact of their own hotspots.
As we dive into this culinary journey, we'll unveil the surprising CO2 outputs, uncovering how your business choices might be leaving a bigger mark on the planet than you'd expect.
CO2 emissions can be put into 3 categories known as ‘Scopes’. These allow a business to categorise the different kinds of carbon emissions it generates within its own operations and within its wider value chain.
This is the direct GreenHouse Gas emissions (often referred to as GHGs) that a company makes from operations that are owned or controlled by the company itself. An example of this is the natural gas that is burned to power the stoves, ovens and other kitchen equipment within a restaurant.
These are the emissions made indirectly in the running of the company, such as purchased electricity, heating, lighting or cooling an office, or factory.
This is the big one, it relates to the indirect emissions generated by the business. For most businesses, Scope 3 accounts for more than 70% of their carbon and that is why it is crucial it is calculated and can then be dealt with.
Whilst this varies as restaurants' practices and policies are all different the rough percentages and a breakdown of the emissions are given below;
Broadly speaking these can be broken down for restaurants into the following categories:
These emissions are often the most substantial for restaurants, accounting for over 70% of total restaurant emissions.
The two most important criteria when looking at a restaurant's CO2 emissions are the ‘food supply chain’ and ‘waste management’.
These emissions encompass the entire lifecycle of food and ingredients.
Emissions related to food waste that occurs before reaching the restaurant.
While there can be some overlap, it’s important to differentiate between these two categories. “Food Supply Chain Emissions” relate to the broader carbon footprint of sourcing and transporting ingredients, while “Waste Management Emissions” focus on waste generated within the restaurant itself. Both areas offer opportunities for reducing a restaurant’s overall carbon footprint.
Restaurants can take various steps to reduce their carbon emissions and operate more sustainably. Here are five ways a restaurant can reduce its carbon emissions.
These steps are just a starting point, and each restaurant's journey toward reducing carbon emissions will be unique based on its specific circumstances and priorities. Regularly monitoring and assessing emissions, setting emission reduction targets, and engaging with employees and customers about sustainability can also play a vital role in achieving more sustainable restaurant operations.
The world of restaurants, with all its culinary delights, also holds a significant role in our planet's carbon footprint. As we've journeyed through this exploration, it's clear that the CO2 outputs of restaurants go far beyond the confines of their kitchens.
From farm to table, from the ingredients' origins to the waste produced, every aspect of the restaurant industry impacts our environment. The good news is that as awareness grows, so does the commitment of many restaurants to reduce their carbon emissions. Initiatives like sourcing local, sustainable ingredients, implementing energy-efficient practices, and reducing food waste are steps in the right direction.
As conscientious diners, we also have a role to play. By choosing restaurants that prioritise sustainability and supporting their efforts, we can contribute to a more eco-friendly dining culture.
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