Fit-outs part of the focus for operator bidding to become first carbon negative restaurant

Stem + Glory London

Plant-based operator Stem & Glory has become the first restaurant to commit to being carbon negative by the end of 2021 – a year earlier than it initially planned.

Following participation in the London Mayor’s ‘Better Futures+ Programme – an initiative funded by the Mayor’s office to assist businesses in getting to net zero by 2030 – the company said it was clear that more urgent action was needed, and brought forward its pledge to the end of 2021.

The Better Futures+ programme was delivered by West London Business, working with experts from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), Think Hospitality and Climate Essentials.

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Using this support and combined with carbon labelling experts Foodsteps, Stem & Glory has taken a deep dive into its emissions across the entire business, from procurement to restaurant fit-out and set targets weekly, monthly and annually in terms of reduction and offset.

As a plant-based brand already using only 100% renewable energy, Stem & Glory is operating at significantly lower emissions than the average restaurant (less than 20%), and less than 23% of the average SME.

However, the programme has helped to highlight where significant reductions can be made.

Founder Louise Palmer-Masterton has committed to multiple actions within Stem & Glory, and is assisting as many other businesses as possible to make similar changes.

“One of the simplest and most significant actions restaurants (or any business or family) can take to lower their carbon emissions is to move their electricity supply to a 100% renewable tariff, and stop cooking on gas,” said Louise Palmer-Masterton.

“The second is, of course, reduction in the consumption of animal products across the board. With beef and lamb products producing more than 30 times the emissions per kg as plant-based protein, and dairy more than seven times the emissions of plant-milks we all need to be serious about how we feed ourselves sustainably for the sake of future generations.”

“At Stem & Glory, we intend to completely decarbonise eating out, so our customers know their dining choices are sustainable ones, and we urge restaurants everywhere to join us on this journey – helping diners play their part in tacking the most critical challenge we all face.”

Stem & Glory has a number of other initiatives within its restaurants, such as the use of contemporary furniture made from recycled post-consumer waste, and repurposed products, all of which have a significant impact on reducing the emissions of the restaurants.

From October, Stem & Glory will be removing single use coffee cups completely in favour of reusable cups, with reusable lunch boxes to follow.

The brand is working with several partners on coffee cup and lunch box swap schemes, which they expect to grow rapidly in the coming months and years.

Any emissions that remain once all reduction strategies have been exhausted are offset working with accredited UK and global partners, which should allow the company to over-offset and become carbon negative by the end 2021.

“The process of completing the Better Futures+ Programme has been extremely enlightening on many levels,” said Ms Palmer-Masterton. “We have been bowled over by the support and encouragement we have received from starting the conversation with our customers, suppliers and partners about reducing our joint carbon emissions. We are very much looking forward to a better and more sustainable future.”

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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