Raymond Blanc has said that operators must step up to their sustainability responsibilities or risk failing the expectations of their customers.
Attending the Global Restaurant Investment Forum in Amsterdam as president of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), the chef and restaurateur behind Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons and Brasserie Blanc, said: "It took 70 years of abuse to be where we are, you cannot change that in five years. It takes time. What's exciting is that knowledge is empowering.
"We have a consumer with knowledge, who is aware, responsible and understands the extreme complexities of the problem. This consumer will put pressure on you. Why wait for the pressure and lose business when you can start fixing this problem."
Blanc urged those present to join the 7,300 operators signed up with the association and use its resources to change.
He added: "Each of you have enormous possibilities to change your businesses and there are so many ways to do it.
"Of course, there's a cost but I think it's worth it because you are creating a business that is more ethical."
The two-Michelin-starred chef said the "luxury of old was the most wasteful" and added that the most influential progress would be seen on the high street as retailers and global brands commit to more sustainable practices.
He also argued that being at the vanguard of sustainability and environmental issues would help the hospitality sector as it works to engage a new generation of staff, desperately needed to plug shortages.
He said: "You have the vision, then you pass it on and then they your employees] all own it and then you have a business that is full of purpose, has DNA and is a brand with values."