Michael Benyan and Mark Sainsbury
Top restaurant industry names include Carluccio, Pain Quotidien, Manoir aux Quatre Saisons, Moro, Benares, Due South, Feng Sushi, D&D London, Due South, The Felan Fach Griffin, Canteen, Gurnard’s Head, Rockfish Grill, Caffe Caldesi and Seahorse Restaurant.
A recent survey revealed that 93% of Toptable users think that restaurants and chefs should lead by example in promoting healthy and sustainable food choices.
Furthermore 70% of the people that took part in the survey also agreed that they would be more likely to eat at a restaurant that was accredited by a reputable sustainability body, strongly suggesting there is a high demand for an independent organisation to guide and accredit restaurants on sustainability matters.
The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) was launched with the aim of responding to these requirements by making it easier for restaurants to take positive sustainable actions, to change not only the food that people eat and enjoy, but also the way it is sourced, transported and created. The SRA also provides a platform, open to diners, restaurant employees and suppliers, to take action and encourage restaurants to sign up and meet the needs of the communities they serve. Through practical sustainable advice and guidance, the SRA demonstrates how restaurants can save money, motivate employees and importantly, bring in new customers and grow their business.
Already a number of high profile restaurants and chains have become founder members covering 125 sites and including Carluccio’s, Le Pain Quotidien, D&D London, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Moro, Due South, The Felan Fach Griffin, Canteen, Gurnard’s Head, Benares, Wahaca, Feng Sushi, Rockfish Grill, Caffe Caldesi and Seahorse Restaurant.
Currently the hotel and restaurant sector has the lowest levels of environmental awareness of all business sectors. Food services and restaurant industries are responsible for a staggering 3 million tonnes of food waste annually, whilst restaurants throw out an incredible 600,000 tonnes of glass bottles a year. Restaurants in England and Wales are using 391 million cubic metres of water annually, enough to fill over 104,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The SRA hopes to change this, working with restaurants to make changes throughout the UK.
The SRA is supported by advisory bodies and partners across the restaurant industry and sustainability spectrum, to provide expert advice on a range of issues from sourcing ethical fish and meat to energy conservation and waste issues. For a small annual fee, restaurants of all types from small independents to chains and pubs have access to a range of services to support them throughout their sustainability journey.
Once SRA members have signed up, they then have the option to showcase their ongoing commitment to sustainability by taking an independent audit as soon as they feel ready to take this step, where gold, silver or bronze “Champion” accreditation status can be achieved, which will then be communicated to restaurant guides and reviewers.
Simon Kossoff, Managing Director, Carluccio’s remarked: “Our customers tell us that the broad issues around sustainability are more and more important. We know we have some way to go at Carluccio's toward becoming more sustainable, but The SRA gives us the support and confidence to start the journey and make positive changes.”
Atul Kochhar, Chef Patron, Benares restaurant said: ‘The restaurant industry has been in desperate need of something like the SRA for a while now. As a restaurateur and chef, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of diners who are really starting to ask questions about provenance but we also need to educate them on other environmental issues relating to the restaurant industry including everything from waste to where we source our fish and the SRA has the ideal tools to help us do this.”
Simon Heppner, Managing Director of the SRA says ‘There are a wide range of pressures for restaurants to be more sustainable and we aim to show that it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive and is instead a simple and achievable goal. Through responding to this challenge restaurants can not only satisfy existing customers and gain new ones, they can also make positive changes for the environment and society and be properly rewarded for their efforts.”
The SRA was conceived by renowned restaurateur Mark Sainsbury and ethical business consultant Giles Gibbons, to make sustainability simple for restaurants, as well as to recognise and reward them for their efforts.
Mark, Owner of The Zetter and Moro, and Giles, Founder and CEO of Good Business share a longstanding appreciation of the need for a clear and consistent approach to sustainability in the restaurant sector. They recruited fast food chain LEON’s Co-founder Henry Dimbleby as a third Director and an Advisory Board, made up of restaurateurs including Wahaca owner Thomasina Miers as well as experts in the field of environmental development such as Tara Garnett, expert in greenhouse gas emissions and the food system at Surrey University and Chris Goodall, climate change expert and author of Ten Technologies to Save the Planet.
This years Vision on Sustainable Tourism Sustainable Tourism Masterclass is to be held at Mark Sainsbury’s Zetter hotel.