Restaurant giant targets Net-Zero

Every time Treehugger posts about companies’ meat reduction strategies, questions arise in the comments as to whether it really has to be ‘all or nothing’. After all, while Epicurious may be ready to ditch the beef from its recipes, plenty of other people would argue that supporting more sustainable production methods would be a more efficient way.

UK and Ireland-based restaurant giant Compass Group may have just listened because it released a new 2030 Net-Zero strategy which offers something for everyone in terms of meat reduction and regenerative farming supply.

The company says, “Local and seasonal ingredients will be essential. By 2030, there will be a 40% shift to protein of plant origin, with an intermediate target of at least 25% by 2025. In addition, 70% of the 5 main food categories (products dairy and cheese, fruit and vegetables, pork, beef and chicken) must come from regenerative agriculture by 2030. ”

It is not entirely clear how the company defines ‘regenerative agriculture’ exactly, but it promises to work with suppliers to promote local sourcing and more sustainable farming methods, as well as to rework its process. Supplier audit to include key environmental performance criteria, including energy and resource efficiency, renewable energy, waste management and green logistics.

While it is true that we are talking about a single company here – not entire countries – but the Compass Group plan appears to be the type of robust, comprehensive and relatively transparent approach that serves as a reasonable counterpoint to the concerns of some scientists regarding the network. zero being a counterproductive fantasy.

Here’s how Robin Mills, Managing Director of Compass Group UK & Ireland, announced the initiative:

“At Compass, we are passionate about food and great service. We believe it is our responsibility to contribute to a future of sustainable food production and regenerative agricultural principles and practices, and a commitment to the Net Zero climate is an important step. Partnerships with our customers, suppliers, employees, civil society partners and government will be essential to achieving our goals. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of restaurant business.

Among the specific promises that are worth noting:

  • 100% renewable energy by 2022
  • Fleet of fully electric rechargeable cars by 2024
  • A $ 1.4 million start-up investment fund to support carbon reduction and innovation in sustainable food production.
  • 55% reduction in emissions by 2025
  • 65% reduction in emissions by 2030

And since no ‘green’ eating plan is complete without it, Compass is likely to get extra credit for its plan to phase out single-use plastic cutlery by 2021 as well.

Of course, the stated goal of reducing emissions “by at least” 65% by 2030 – both in company operations and in the value chain – still leaves up to 35% of emissions. intact. And this is where critics of Net-Zero can say it is potentially dangerous.

Still, as someone trying to formulate a decent emissions reduction strategy for my own employer, I have to say that at least a 65% reduction in less than nine years – if combined with a firm commitment to mitigate the remaining shows – feels like the kind of plan we should be promoting.

As always, offsets are going to be the controversial sticking point when it comes to net zero. And while the investments Compass pledged in UK-based reforestation and peatland restoration projects will likely be a welcome boost to nature, it’s hard to see how there will be enough such projects to support them. continue as other companies and sectors also look to emissions.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that, in accordance with the recommendations of the Science Based Targets initiative around net zero targets, the company is transparent about the extent to which it will rely on the offsets and the types of offsets it will use. This is likely to be an increasingly important part of the root cause analysis when it comes to zero-interest plans at the non-government level.

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