Why should restaurants care about sustainability?


Nargis Jafferali

Why should restaurants care about sustainability?
Sustainability. “Being able to continue over a period of time, causing little or no damage to the environment - the idea that goods and services should be produced in ways that do not use resources that cannot be replaced and that do not damage the environment.”

There’s no denying that we are seeing more visible signs that the threat of climate change and global warming are not just theories any more. This summer, the UK reached the highest temperature ever recorded in history, and many other countries in Europe experienced unparalleled heatwaves such that they’ve never seen before – just one example that things are shifting in the environmental landscape on a global level.

This and so many other environmental issues are not matters for discussion in a science lab anymore, nor are they issues that will affect only generations in centuries to come – these are problems facing us NOW, and it’s pretty evident that people are waking up to try to do their part to make a difference and save the planet.

And it starts with small changes.

On an individual level, people are understanding that simple choices like opting out of using a plastic straw, taking in reusable bags to purchase groceries, recycling household rubbish properly and so much more, can make a real difference overall.

But in hospitality, there’s a chance to take that to a much broader level. We’re already seeing diners cite sustainability as an essential factor in deciding which restaurant to go to - they are spending more time and more thought into what they eat and consciously looking for restaurants that equally care about the environment as much as they do.

Being mindful of food waste, using recyclable materials for menus, sourcing locally-grown produce, eliminating disposable cups and plastic straws, perhaps even becoming a zero-waste establishment – these are all ways and starting points in which restaurants can do their part.

Chefs frequently talk about the steps they consciously take to adopt sustainable practices in the heart of their kitchens, with more and more understanding its importance for the successful running of their restaurants. Celebrity chef and owner of multiple award-winning restaurants, Ian Kittichai, said in an interview: "[Sustainability] is very important as what we do today affects the food chain and supply for our children and future generations. I try to do what I can - waste management, buying local, supporting local and regional farmers, for example."

A restaurant may decide to try to keep ahead of the trends from a business perspective and maintain their competitive advantage to appeal to a broader audience. Or a business owner may have simply decided that ethically they want to do their part to contribute to the planet we live on. Whatever the motive and whatever their own reasons, there’s more and more pressure for restaurants to be a part of the change and keep up with their counterparts taking such noticeable strides in this subject.

Tesco definitely got it right when they said "Every Little Helps”, didn’t they!