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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.