Addressing Energy Management In The Hospitality Industry
Our journey towards being a more sustainable and net-zero business is a huge undertaking, and one that all businesses, not just hospitality, are working on as well. In our work so far, we have been aware of the importance and the need for collaboration and to work with everyone in order to get to where we need to be for a better planet.
What is the Mayor of London’ Business Climate Challenge?
When thinking about collaborative action, one of the highlights for us has been the acceptance of two of our beautiful Gaucho restaurants onto the Mayor of London’s Business Climate Challenge (BCC)! As active members of the community in Fitzrovia and in Camden, our Charlotte Street and Hampstead sites were able to apply to be a part of this fantastic scheme to accelerate the journey towards becoming a net-zero restaurant.
In 2020, the Mayor of London set a target for the capital city to become net zero by 2030 – very ambitious! This requires all sectors, businesses, and energy companies to bring forward their actions to address the carbon emissions that are generated primarily through energy and water use within buildings across London. To support this goal, he launched a pilot scheme called the ‘Business Climate Challenge’, a free energy efficiency programme for businesses, to see what potential carbon savings could be gained through strategic support given to businesses to reduce energy consumption and accelerate building decarbonisation.
The goal was to reduce energy usage by 10% in the first year and the participating companies absolutely smashed it! They achieved an average of a 16% reduction in energy usage, and carbon emissions, compared to the previous year and now the project has been commissioned for 2023 across more areas of London with more businesses encouraged to take part than before.
Gaucho’s acceptance on to the BCC for both Charlotte Street and Hampstead is quite significant, as the only hospitality business in either the Fitzrovia or Camden cohort, and we sit alongside a myriad of players from other sectors, whether they be theatres, office buildings, or… Together, all participants have committed to reduce our energy consumption by 10% in 2023 compared to what we used in 2022, although we would love to save even more!
Our restaurant energy management efforts
Over the course of this year, we will be working with the BCC to conduct energy audits of the two buildings, set up detailed reporting for our sites and empowering them to understand how to reduce electricity and gas usage within the restaurants, as well as attending workshops and training on hospitality energy management and what net zero is all about. Technical support is provided by WSP and Turner & Townsend, while an online reporting and consumption dashboard has been set up and monitored by Io-Gen.
With the energy crisis presenting significant challenges for businesses and individuals alike, we are very excited to be working with the BCC and all other participating businesses in this important work to decarbonise London! Follow us on our journey as we share our successes and challenges, and see through becoming an energy efficient restaurant just how much savings can be made across the year.
What a year. 2022 saw us reach new heights in our quest to become the best Argentinian steak restaurant possible, seeing plenty of happy faces with clean plates.
But we want to be known for more than just the best steaks in London. By developing an impact strategy, we’ve made real progress in our commitments to become a net zero business. Through the efforts of in-house staff, super suppliers and fantastic partners, we have laid the groundworks to get us there as a business by 2040. Let’s look back at an incredible year at Gaucho, where we made big strides in not just being the best steak restaurant, but a wholly eco-friendly one too.
Events have always been a key part of our offering at Gaucho, and 2022 was a busy year for us with plenty going on! Back in June we covered a whole host of sustainability events in London, including London Climate Action Week, Net Zero Week and the Sustainable Events Show. These events were a great opportunity to build relations with like-minded and kindred parties, all in the same mindset of climate action and restaurant sustainability.
For more events happening that you yourself can attend, see our events page. You’ll find everything from fun classes with Gaucho cookery school to private dining events like the Sustainable Supper club.
We were so excited to add new restaurants in 2022 to our growing family. At the end of the year, we announced the opening of a brand new steak restaurant in Liverpool. Situated in the beating heart of a vibrant city, our home on the Merseyside is a real diamond.
As part of our opening, we were super-excited to declare our partnership with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. As one of the busiest children’s hospitals in the country, Alder Hey is at the cutting edge of artificial intelligence and virtual reality. We’re very proud to be associated with them and their innovative approach to children’s healthcare.
But it didn’t end there. As always, our community development work is a key priority for us at every restaurant we open. We want to ensure our suppliers care as much as we do about sustainability and sourcing eco-friendly, high-quality food which is why we met with Farm Urban in the Baltic Triangle of Liverpool.
In 2019 we became the first restaurant in the UK to have measured and offset the carbon emissions of our beef, offering carbon neutral steaks. We want to improve on this and make the entire business net zero by 2040. While this is an ambitious goal, we believe by doing more every year, we can achieve our goal of becoming net zero across Scopes 1 and 2 by 2030, and Scope 3 by 2040
Here is some of the work we did to contribute to that ambition in 2022.
Last year saw us become members of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). This helped to confirm our commitment to reducing carbon emissions and environmental impact, even if it means overhauling entire systems. In the process received a Food Made Good sustainability rating from the SRA. You can find the full report here.
In the words of Food Made Good: “By completing the Rating you are showing the industry, your team and your customers that action matters infinitely more than intention. Your commitment ensures the credibility of your actions, strengthening our collective ability to push the industry further, faster forward.”
We also joined the ZCF, a non-profit organisation that empowers members to reach sustainability targets with more speed and efficiency. They helped us calculate the first carbon footprints, identify carbon emission hotspots and priority areas to tackle.
As part of working with these guys, we focused on regenerative agriculture, engaging suppliers to decarbonise the supply chain. Regenerative farming is an alternative means of producing food that may have lower (or even net positive) environmental impact. See our blog for more information on the pros of this type of agriculture.
Last year also saw us put forward two of our restaurants to take part in the Mayor of London’s Business Climate Challenge. This is an energy efficiency programme which supports businesses to reduce their energy consumption, to accelerate building decarbonisation efforts in London.
The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a technique for testing the environmental aspects associated with a product over its life cycle.The most important applications include contribution to the overall environment. This is particularly relevant for the carbon footprint of our signature Argentinian beef and gave us some great insights in how to improve our supply chain processes. There’s always more to improve!
These guys bring income and employment opportunities to those communities around the world most at-risk of being taken into modern-day slavery or trafficking. As one of our most active charity partners, we invested in Not For Sale projects that have offset an estimate of 9,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Internally and as part of our staff initiatives, we created a new Impact Awareness training for all staff. This is vital because it gives them a fundamental education in sustainability concepts and principles, ensuring everyone in the business is aligned with our sustainability goals.
Our restaurant group has been purchasing renewable electricity for several years now, but we wanted to go beyond this in 2022. Here are three ways we aimed to be more cautious with our energy usage at a more granular level:
In 2022 we underwent the first food waste review. It’s amazing how much waste restaurants can create, so this was a super important one for our eco-friendly goals moving forward. This allowed us to establish a baseline from which to halve our food waste by 2030. Watch this space.
In summary, 2022 laid the groundwork for our commitment to sustainability. If you’re interested, we’ll be publishing our first ESG report in February (Environmental Social Governance) outlining in more detail the work that was undertaken, and the commitments made.
Now onto 2023 – where the hard work really begins.
It’s so exciting to get a fresh start. In 2023, we have a whole lot going on.
One of our main priorities for this year is to engage with our supply chain, enhancing our decarbonisation process. This involves putting theory into practice with our farmers in Argentina, taking recommendations from the LCA about carbon footprint. The aim here is to create a formal carbon reduction strategy. After all, action always speaks louder than.. theories. As well as this specific action, we’ll be doing a wider audit of our entire supplier network, ensuring their sustainability priorities align with ours.
This year will also see us step up our staff training, primarily in further education on waste management, energy efficiency, and food waste reduction. To support our chefs with our food waste reduction targets, we’re partnering with the Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP). This allows them to become official signatories of WRAP’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. As well as this, we have increased the number of volunteer days for our staff. We think it’s important they get the chance to engage with our supply chain and charity partners as much as possible.
Of course, we will continue to support the incredible organisations that achieved so much last year. This includes the amazing people at Not For Sale, supporting them with investments into more reforestation and carbon offsetting projects. If you want to learn more about how reforestation helps their cause, see this blog on becoming a carbon neutral restaurant.
What’s more, we are set to calculate site-specific carbon footprints – so we can target restaurants more specifically, and see what needs improvements. This allows them to set more useful reduction targets. Knowing the problem is the first step to solving it. That’s it for our 2022 restaurant round-up. For more articles on similar topics, check out our other Impact blogs. We’re passionate about restaurant sustainability, working with the community and putting delicious steaks on your plate.
Welcome back to Volume 10 of the Impact blog series, where we’re bringing you some amazing news! Ready for it? Today we’re happy to announce the opening of a brand new steak restaurant in Liverpool. This iconic British city has everything: great football, a legendary music scene, and now delicious steak.
Just like every new restaurant opening, working with the community is at the heart of every decision. That’s why when choosing a location for the restaurant, we revamped a historic, unused bank building. Situated in the beating heart of a vibrant city, our home in Liverpool is a real gem. We’re super excited to open our doors and allow people to experience the beautiful architecture (as well as our tasty food, of course).
But that’s not it. From sustainable suppliers and secure employment, to productive partnerships with local charities, we want to build on this and contribute even more to the Liverpool community.
As part of our Liverpool opening, we’re absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. The busiest children’s hospital in the UK, Alder Hey is a top-level facility committed to develop life changing treatments to improve children’s care outcomes. It’s also a leader of healthcare innovation, using artificial intelligence and virtual reality to push the boundaries of medical care.
All with the aim of allowing children to experience a range of challenging physical and mental health conditions, endeavours like this put Alder Hey at the forefront of research. You can see why they’ve garnered an international reputation among healthcare professionals – it’s an extraordinary place.
So, in the interests of supporting Alder Hey’s vital work, Gaucho have donated £10,000, with the funds going towards purchasing specialist equipment for a new neonatal unit. This unit has been designed to provide living space for both children in long-term care, as well as their parents, allowing families to stay close.
As a restaurant that donates to nonprofits regularly, Gaucho is extremely proud to support such a fantastic hospital. We have nothing but admiration for Alder Hey staff, patients and families and are eager to make this partnership flourish with further fundraisers and donations.
But business charitable giving is more than just donations; it’s about active participation with the charities we support. That’s why we encourage our staff to use fully-paid volunteering days to help in person too.
For more information on the incredible work done at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, visit their website.
Next, let’s have a discussion about suppliers. As you’ll know from previous blogs, we have a great passion for restaurant social responsibility and working with the community. We want to ensure our suppliers care as much as we do about sustainability and sourcing eco-friendly, high-quality food. That’s why we met with Farm Urban in the Baltic Triangle of Liverpool.
Housed in the basement of a community school, Farm Urban uses innovative farming techniques to grow salad leaves and herbs in vertical hydroponic systems (growing plants without soil in a horizontal or vertical fashion) for local restaurants to use.
Farming in this manner offers a means of growing fresh and local produce in the centre of urban areas. Why is this good, you ask? Well, not only does this reduce transport miles, it also decreases the strain and dependence on traditional agriculture which requires large amounts of land and resources. It’s a remarkable example of comprehensive sustainable practice.
By working with selected hospitality groups that align with their values, Farm Urban makes certain they do not compromise the quality and sustainability of what they do by increasing the volume of food they produce.
But it doesn’t stop there with their community development work. Farm Urban also offers learning outreach and engagement courses for children, school leavers and adults, all for the purpose of educating about the power of good nutrition and growing your own food.
If you’re based in Liverpool, what are you waiting for? Come and enjoy a refreshing Farm Urban salad grown from the centre of the city you know and love. In the near future we hope to have our own beautiful Farm Urban installation growing even more menu items right here in the restaurant. How’s that for reducing transport miles?
For more articles on similar topics, check out our other Impact blogs. We’re passionate about restaurant sustainability, working with the community and putting delicious steaks on your plate.
WHAT IS REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE?
Patrons of social and environmental responsibility, welcome back to episode 8 of the impact blog. Last month we released a special edition blog feature covering Martin’s CEO trip to Peru with partners Not For Sale. If you missed it, be sure to give it a read here. This month we’re discussing ‘regenerative farming’. Regenerative farming is a hot topic in the word of sustainability right now, and though not yet defined and certified, it’s widely recognised to hold many answers to how we reduce carbon emissions from agricultural practices. So, let’s get stuck in…
WHAT IS REGENERATIVE FARMING?
In a nutshell, regenerative farming introduces a different way of farming, that drastically improves soil health and its ability to capture and store carbon (known as sequestration). It’s not necessarily a new concept, but it does require a significant change in the way of mass production to lower carbon yields, with greater attention paid to the relationship between crops, animals, soils, ecosystems and us (the messy humans).
There are no set metrics to really monitor a farms regenerative agriculture – the idea is that different land in different areas will not react the same way to the same processes. Therefore, each piece of farmland needs to be looked at individually to understand its specific needs when deciding what practices to implement. This is what separates regenerative farming from other types of farming, such as organic where there are set expectations, metrics and KPIs.
THE BENEFITS OF CARBON SEQUESTRATION
Simply put, carbon sequestration refers to the removal of carbon dioxide molecules from the air, storing them in plants and trees – otherwise referred to as carbon sinks. In nature this is known as photosynthesis, which we all remember from school right? No? Okay, quick revision time: photosynthesis is when plants and trees take in carbon dioxide and use energy from the sun to turn it into sugars (or food). Forests, jungles and woodland areas are so important to us for this reason, but they need good healthy soils to grow, which is why maintaining the fertility of land is so important. Also vital for carbon sequestration are water bodies as they can also act as carbon sinks with microscopic plankton taking in carbon and storing it.
The technology is there to mimic this effect artificially too; Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is used in industrial processes to stop emissions from ever reaching the atmosphere. Once captured the CO2 undergoes a process to turn it into liquid and then piped deep underground where it can be stored for years.
So, by improving soil health and increasing the right kind of plants and crops on agricultural land, the ability of a system to capture carbon dioxide will improve greatly and this will go a significant way in the journey to lower emissions in agricultural systems.
SO, WHAT ARE WE DOING?
At Gaucho and M Restaurants we continue to explore new avenues of sustainable farming – regenerative farming being one of them.
A conversation with industry friend Honest Burger who have worked to overhaul their entire beef supply chain to be regeneratively farmed products, led us to their supplier ‘Ethical Butcher’. Changing their supply to regenerative practices was done with the intention of reducing their carbon footprint and improve the environmental impacts of eating beef.
Some new cuts (farmed regeneratively) will now be available in selected M and Gaucho restaurants, sitting nicely alongside our premium Argentine beef, where we have already done our own work to calculate the carbon footprint and invest in offsetting through our charity partners ‘Not For Sale’.
These examples of collaboration are the future for sustainable food production and the work being done around regenerative agriculture is an exciting step forward for sustainable farming. Gaucho and M are proud to be members of the Zero Carbon Forum’s working group on regenerative agriculture, to discover what advances we can make within the hospitality industry, and how scaling up this type of production system could be possible.
In 2019 we became the first restaurant in the UK to offer Carbon Neutral Steaks. This month Martin Williams CEO went to Peru to see how our reforestation projects affect the lives of potential victims of modern-day slavery and sex traffickers, in partnership with the ‘Not For Sale’ movement. At Rare we are very proud to bring you a truly ethical and conscious dining experience. We hope you will continue to read about our ethical projects in our blog….
“I read David Batstone’s story in 2014, where he explained that his motivation for creating the ‘Not for Sale’ movement -NFS (which fights modern-day slavery and sex trafficking around the globe) was his discovery that his favourite Indian restaurant was full of waitresses and chefs who were forced workers.
My personal passion for restaurants stems from a desire to offer unique dining experiences of the highest quality enjoyed equally by a both a community of like-minded guests and the wonderful people who work at Gaucho and M. Occasionally a restaurant can be even more than this…
We all love our favourite restaurants, they are our lives; our brand choices are personal and reflect the values of those who work and dine in them- so when a restaurants steps beyond food, drink and hospitality; at it’s best it can generate immense loyalty and pride through enhancing communities and bringing societal changes. At worst, like in David’s discovery, it can represent the worst of the world.
I’ve always had an ambition that the restaurants I lead are hubs of empathy, curiosity and courage; Since founding M and becoming CEO of Gaucho we have sort to create restaurants which are proudly values driven. We have numerous examples of how we display this, one of which has been our commitment to raise both awareness and sustained financial contributions for the ‘Not for Sale’ movement.
In doing so, since 2015 we have supported NFS through our ‘M Is Not For Sale’ initiative which supports a project named ‘Dignata’ in Amsterdam which takes forced sex-workers out of the windows of the red light district, into the safety of employment (in restaurants).
Equally holistically, since 2019 we have contributed to over a dozen projects across the globe (predominantly in south America) which fund local communities to work with us on our reforestation programmes, which de-carbonises our supply chain, improves the global planet and in doing so has helped to kick-start the (would-be victims’) entrepreneurial endeavours to make a sustainable living out of the products of the rainforests. This continues to protect these indigenous tribes and villages in danger of becoming victims of sex trafficking and slavery.
To ensure that the steaks in our restaurants are Carbon Neutral, this year we have planted over 25,000 trees and our partnership with the ‘Not For Sale’ Movement has positively changed the lives of a over thousand people. Our journey to net zero and the impact we have had on global society is rightly a great source of pride to everyone who works at Rare Restaurants…
This month, I travelled to Puerto Maldonado in Peru to see the impact of two projects; the reforestation work of ‘Not For Sale’ with Camino Verde and in to visit the village of Boca Pariamanu a 5000 hectare plantation.
Percy Leva is the leader of the Camino Verdi project; a nursery which is the hub of growing new saplings from seed. The modest ‘farm’ grows over seventy different varietals of tree, of which a dozen are in danger of becoming extinct. The plantation of these trees is well thought out with a strategic roadmap of over a decade. Many of the varieties produce food, others medicine, some essential oils; All act to support the local ecosystem vital for the survival of insects, bees, birds, animals and as the COO of Not For Sale put bluntly “Human life”.
As you can imagine in the company of Percy and his spirited Camino Verde colleagues, I found an untapped love and appreciation for the power of a plant!
Our NFS partnership projects also support nine villages and indigenous people of the Amazon. These villages are surrounded by the devastation caused by illegal mining and ‘logging’ (which is causing devastating, deforestation of the rainforest). Historically these communities lived in dire poverty and when approached by miners, narco-traffickers or loggers with ‘employment opportunities’ young men and women left their families with the intent to financially provide for them. Tragically, the jobs, situations and lives of these victims, were not as promised and they were raped and abused, forced into slave labour camps and prostitution.
The ‘Not for Sale’ movement has spent two decades building trust with the villagers and though investing in transport, reforestation and farming projects has given these communities not only a maintainable existence (in terms of food and health), but also enabled them to profit from the produce of the forest, primarily cultivating and commercialising brazil nuts and cacoa and by supporting entrepreneurial projects including research tourism, jewelry and perfumes.
The tribe leader Fernando generously gave me a tour of their land and introduced me to dozens of villagers who were amongst the happiest people you will come across, delighted by their new found self-sustainability, ambitiously seeking further opportunities to grow their quality of life.
Every company in the coming years will embark on a journey to Net Zero and will approach it in many ways. At Rare Restaurants, we began our journey in 2019 and have holistically found a route to provide a ‘carbon conscious’ ethical dining option for our guests and the broader restaurant scene. With the help of ‘Not for Sale’ we have also found a way to unquestionably improve the planet and the lives of many people. Having spoken to many of our team members, I know this provides a great source of pride and belonging.
We founded the ‘Sustainable Steak Movement’ in 2021 to share the findings of our scientific research investments in carbon footprint calculations and our findings on best practice in animal husbandry, regenerative farming techniques, sequestration, the reduction of carbon at source and options to offset greenhouse gasses. Our invitation to join the SSM has been welcomed by many and we are working with the ‘Zero Carbon Forum’ to incorporate the SSM into some of their key focus groups to encourage others to join. Working together, this ambitious movement has immeasurable potential.”
What Is Drink Sustainability?
Hello and welcome back to part 7 of the impact blog series! If you haven’t already, check out the previous volume to explore our restaurant social responsibility efforts. If you’re based in London (or anywhere in the UK for that matter) you’ll know that IT. HAS. BEEN. HOT. We’ve seen some of the highest temperatures on record this past month, and before you make any assumptions – no we’re not going to lecture you on climate change or the warming of our planet. In fact, we want to shed some light on something a little more light-hearted; sustainable drinks, or ‘Sustainable Serves’ as we named them at Gaucho and M…
How do you make sustainable beverages?
There are various approaches to making a drink (more) sustainable, whether it’s focusing on the supply chain, ingredients, manufacturing, packaging, logistics or disposal. At Gaucho, we started our ‘sustainable serves’ initiative by firstly looking at our brands and wineries, to better understand their current accreditations and practices. This allowed us to be more selective with our partners and we are proud to say we now stock the entire sustainable drinks portfolio from our suppliers Glass Half Full.
To give more exposure to these products we’ve highlighted our biodynamic*, organic*, natural, or ‘sustainable’ partners on our drinks and wine menus. Looking to the future, we will widen the scope of such initiatives, especially when it comes to cocktails and ingredients, looking at what we can do to avoid importing items.
How to drink sustainably?
Choosing beverages from eco-friendly drinks brands may seem obvious, but how many of us do it? With the green movement gaining more and more notoriety around the world, it’s no longer viable for businesses to hide from consumer opinion or demand. Look out for drinks companies that build sustainability into their brand, actively addressing their core issues. Sustainable drinking glasses and straws are also available which provides another simple way to add sustainability into your beverages.
What is a zero-waste cocktail?
Zero-waste cocktails create zero waste (durrrrr)…
Designing a eco-freindly cocktail around zero-waste principles, in essence, means looking at all the ingredients to ensure nothing ends up in the bin. Garnishes, for example, should be entirely edible. You can also make use of ingredients that you have spare from making your sustainable cocktails by creating a fruit salad with any leftover fruit or by adding leftover herb & spices to your delicious dinner.
What does certified sustainable mean?
*There are two main certified credentials that drink producers and wineries can achieve to show their commitment to sustainability; ‘Organic’ and ‘Biodynamic’. Both credentials show sustainable commitment, putting environmental principles at the heart of farming and cultivation. Both must meet strict requirements.
Biodynamic goes above and beyond the organic requirements. In fact, it’s defined as ‘a spiritual-ethical-ecological’ approach to agriculture, gardens, food production, and nutrition. This means a winery vineyard, for example, is seen as a part of nature and not an isolated piece of land engineered purely to grow grapes. Put simply, the biodynamic certification shows that businesses place sustainability above commercial objectives.
How do you know if wine is sustainable?
Sustainable, eco-friendly wines are wines that are produced in sustainable vineyards that practice water and energy conservation, preserve ecosystems and local wildlife. To know if wine is sustainable you can check the label for organic or biodynamic logos – if it has been certified there will be some evidence of this on the bottle. Sustainable wine producers will want you to know about their operations, directing customers via QR codes or web links to accreditations or website information.
What is the most sustainable beverage packaging?
Drinks packaging is a challenge – it’s a functional necessity for containing and transporting drinks but different packaging affects the quality of the drink inside.
Glass is a material that can very easily be recycled however, the heavy weight of transporting the glass creates higher transport emissions and costs – the heavier the item, the more fuel it requires to move. This makes it key to use eco-friendly wine bottle packaging in order to improve the sustainability of wine across the industry.
Aluminium cans are lightweight, sturdy, and easy to recycle however, generally lots of producers prefer not to use this material due to its perceived lower quality.
Plastic bottles are in most cases easy to recycle however, the complexity of making them out of different types of plastic means that not all plastic bottles are recyclable as standard.
Why is sustainability so important in food and beverage?
Sustainable food and drink is all about being resourceful in the supply and production practices . With a rapidly growing world population, shrinking land space and poorer quality soil, it’s imperative that all industries introduce sustainable practices, particularly in the food and beverage industry.
Farming is directly impacted by climate change; increasing natural disasters such as droughts, floods, and extreme temperature variations affect the quantity and quality of food production. These issues are exacerbated by poor land management, largely due to increasing global demand. Nutrients in the soil are being drained and the fertility of the land is decreasing so much that it cannot be used to grow food again.
The solution is to reassess farming and land management practices to improve the sustainability of the food and beverage industry. Certifications such as organic, is the first step to better practices alongside technological developments and regenerative farming.
While we are proud of our impact and sustainability efforts so far, with our drinks offering and otherwise, we know that there’s still so much more we can do. Looking ahead we will kick start a new project with our wine suppliers to assess the sustainability practices at all the wineries whose products we stock, which ultimately, will increase the number of sustainable drinks we offer our guests.
Restaurant Social Responsibility
Impact fanatics, welcome back to volume 6 of the blog series! We’re extremely pleased to have reached the six-month milestone and evidently, we’ve picked up a few avid readers along the way. It brings us joy to know that we have succeeded in captivating the attention of conscious consumers, and it’s especially reassuring to know that there is a strong community out there who share our devotion for positive action.
Since publishing the first blog in January we have covered a range of important topics such as our involvement with the SRA, sustainable sourcing, low carbon beef farming and sustainability events happening in London. This month we are taking a closer look at the importance of charity partnerships, in particular ‘Not For Sale’, a modern-day anti-slavery charity, working across the globe with communities most at-risk.
At Rare Restaurants we understand the importance of joining forces and supporting charitable organisations. We currently work with six partners, which has opened new doors for us over the past few years, helping us gain access to a vital network of contacts, bring employment to a new group, align our mission, and ultimately achieve our goal to diversify our workforce and make it even more inclusive.
Globally, there are 45.8 million people living in slavery. NFS are fighting to end the lack of economic opportunity and environmental degradation that leads to exploitation, striving for a world where people and planet function in harmony; a world where no one is for sale. NFS work with local experts to understand the root causes of slavery. They investigate local economies to discover where the cycle can be broken and partner with local entrepreneurs to create projects that provide education, empowerment, and income for those most at risk.
Both Gaucho and M restaurants have a long-standing partnership with NFS. Through this partnership, we have pledged to raise and donate £1,000,000 over 10 years. So far, we have raised money through numerous campaigns including the yearly ‘M Is Not For Sale’ fundraiser and a pop-up restaurant experience at M Victoria where all profits go to the charity. We are proud to now be increasing our support with investment in their carbon offsetting initiatives.
Carbon Offsetting with Not For Sale
While we are working on a long-term strategy to reduce the emissions at source on our farms in Argentina and across the supply chain, we are also working to tackle our historic emissions through this charity partnership. We are focusing our investments in community projects that have a carbon offsetting potential, such as reforestation or afforestation initiatives. In January 2021, we planted 4,056 trees in South America, offsetting 1,464 tonnes of CO2eq, and we have just invested in offsetting the last six months of our beef carbon emissions.
We are now also supporting further projects across nine countries where we source beef for both Gaucho and M. Over 17,500 trees will be planted, offsetting nearly 4 million tonnes of CO2eq.
Planted tree species Aniba canelilla
Planted tree species Bertholletia excelsa
Planted tree species Hura crepitans
Planted tree species Theobroma cacoa
Planted tree species Carapa guianensis
Planted tree species Enterolobirum contortisiliquum
Restaurant social responsibility continues to be a principal focus for Gaucho and M Restaurants. Our charity partners play a huge part, when it comes to sustainability and our core values for community. We’re delighted to be working with so many remarkable charities, who are helping us achieve our goals and inspire new opportunities creating positive impacts on the planet. We would like to take this opportunity to say a special thank you to Not For Sale – we are very proud of the work we have done together and we’re excited at the prospect of what is to come in the future.
Friends of planet earth, welcome back to the 5th edition of impact blog series. If you haven’t already checked out our previous edition; IMPACT BLOG VOL. 4: What is sustainable beef farming? please do. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that over the past few months we’ve been journaling our efforts to become a carbon-neutral business. We’ve covered sustainable food sourcing, sustainable agricultural practices, charity partners, new internal initiatives and of course our accolades and awards. This month we’re switching our focus as we look at upcoming sustainability and climate change events happening in London.
London Climate Action Week (LCAW), 25th June – 3rd July, London
LCAW is an annual event which brings together London’s leading climate professionals and communities, to present their actions on climate change to a global audience. LCAW encourages ambitious and lively conversations across sectors, allowing businesses to work together more closely, finding innovative solutions to climate change issues.
On Tuesday 28th June we hosted a very special SUSTAINABLE SUPPER CLUB to coincide with LACW. We were joined by CRATE TO PLATE, one of our most innovative suppliers, who grow salad leaves, micro herbs, and vegetables in hydroponic and aeroponic farms around London. Their produce is grown without using any soil, in an insecticide- and pesticide-free environment, with 95% less water used than on traditional farms, and all of this is done in disused spaces around London. Guests were given the chance to meet these innovative farmers and sample their products with our four-course set menu and bespoke drinks pairing. We also offered guests the opportunity to design their very own sustainable salad, alongside live music courtesy of Verushka.
Net Zero Week UK, 2nd July – 8th July
In 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass into law a commitment to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Net Zero Week (NZW) is the UK’s national awareness week which seeks to help businesses achieve their individual commitments and ultimately become net zero. NZW highlights challenges and provides expert advice, which will help us to play our part in this collaborative effort. During the week we will engage with webinars and events, feeding what we learn back into our own net-zero carbon strategy and sharing knowledge with our value chain to help them to decarbonise.
Sustainable Events Show, 25th November
The Sustainable Events show is a one day show that creates a platform to build relations with likeminded and kindred parties. This exhibition aims to tackle on of the greatest modern-era challenges that the industry has ever faced, by bringing together 80 environmentally friendly event venues, event service suppliers and event technology companies, to share their experience in sustainable practices, providing a wealth knowledge, which is invaluable for anyone who works in the service sector. The organisers Wesley Mendy and Dan Bearpark believe there is no bigger issue than the sustainability that faces our world right now. This year the event will take place in The Barbican, one of the most iconic buildings in the heart of London. The conservatory provides a lush oasis of green exhibition space with 1,500 species of plants and trees, many of which are endangered in their natural habitat.
Sustainability LIVE, 7th September – 8th September, London
Stream online or join in person – Sustainability LIVE which brings together senior industry leaders and expert analysts for keynote addresses, discussions, and networking. The event takes place the Business Design Centre, over two days, welcoming over 110 global speakers and 20 interactive panels with global business leaders to discuss what they’re doing tackle climate change issues.
Events have always been a key part of our offering at Gaucho, so it’s only natural that we expand the calendar as our values shift. Over the coming months we will be developing new concepts for our environmentally conscious guests. We look forward to sharing these with you in future blog posts.
See you next month!
Patrons of sustainability, welcome to volume three of the impact blog series! The mood in Rare Restaurants HQ has been particularly upbeat over the past couple of weeks, following news that we have been awarded a one star ‘Food Made Good rating’ from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). The SRA works with businesses across the foodservice industry, industry bodies, campaign groups and suppliers to accelerate change towards an environmentally and socially progressive sector. Their vision is to make eating out good for everyone by generating a restorative impact on the planet.
The Food Made Good rating recognises our initiatives and our accomplishments thus far. An assessment of our business was carried out across three pillars of sustainability including sourcing, society and environment. Our highest overall score was achieved in the environment category thanks to these remarkable initiatives:
Read the full report here.
As well as recognising the hard work happening behind the scenes, the report suggests key focus areas to further improve our positive impacts on the planet. Looking ahead we will introduce new measures to achieve our second star. We are committed to:
Receiving our first Food Made Good star from the SRA is a major milestone for the group and we are incredibly proud of this recognition, which has encouraged us to continue our efforts. Our mission to have a positive impact on planet has never felt more real and we will continue challenging ourselves and the sector to make changes. For more information and regular updates on our sustainability efforts head to our impact page.