How hospitality proves its purpose through the pandemic and beyond

By Tom Tanner, SRA

With restaurants now firmly re-open and operating at something like full capacity again, it’s time to shift our focus back from one threatening big C to another. While Covid has dominated plans for the last 16 months, climate change is no passing threat.

The findings of the recent Purpose Survey we conducted with CODE Hospitality and Belu showed that hospitality’s appetite to tackle head-on the serious threats to the planet — as well as wider sustainability issues — has not been diminished. Instead, there’s real encouragement in the survey findings.

At a time when operators could have been forgiven for hunkering down and doing absolutely anything in their powers to stay afloat — potentially at the expense of all else — many businesses instead chose to up their game.

Among the most notable survey results, three quarters said the pandemic allowed them to rethink the role and purpose of their business, and half said they’d adapted their supply chains and sourcing plans, with many adding that this meant a firmer focus on local.

Many of those questioned singled out carbon footprint reduction as a serious priority, while a similar number pointed to plastic as an ongoing issue they’re committed to tackling.

Successfully taking a big bite out of a restaurant’s carbon footprint and removing plastic from kitchens isn’t always straightforward. That’s why the SRA and a bunch of other NGOs are here, and restaurants should never feel alone when looking to up their sustainability practices. We’ve got your back and have a range of resources to help.

For example, for all those looking to reduce their carbon footprint:

Two of the most effective ways of doing this are to reduce the volume of meat and dairy sourced and served. And with customers looking for more  interesting veg-led options, here’s a resource to help.

Capitalising on consumers new-found taste for local food comes with a smorgasbord of further benefits. Find out five ‘miles better’ reasons for sourcing locally.

A healthy 58% said they were thinking more about the environmental impact of their business now than they had pre-pandemic. A simple way to reduce emissions is to switch to a 100% dark green energy tariff. Check out the Guide to Going Green we put together with Ecotricity and the potential climate savings.

Almost four years on from David (Lord) Attenborough’s earth-shattering Blue Planet documentary, plastic is still front of mind for many operators and some items remain tough to reduce, while others are tricky to recycle. With the help of Belu we produced Unwrapping Plastic – Understanding disposable in hospitality. It’s full of helpful tips about what all the most widely uses items, alternatives and ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. By way of update – waste management company Paper Round have just launched a recycling collection service for those pesky plastics like PPE, film, lids and crisp packets. Find out more about SustainABLE box here.

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