Costa Coffee has become the first café group to gain the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA)'s two-star sustainability champion rating.
The group, which has over 1,800 UK stores, is the first coffee shop brand to be awarded this rating, which denotes that it has demonstrated at least 60% on the 14 SRA markers of all-round sustainability.
Part of the Whitbread Group, Costa was especially praised for its sourcing of a wide range of ingredients from British producers, its seasonal sourcing, and good waste management practices. It was also highlighted for its apprenticeship programme.
Sandy Gourlay, corporate responsibility manager for Costa, said: "We are always seeking to reduce our environmental impact and maximise our investment in our people and wider sustainable practices. We are delighted to have been recognised by the SRA for this on-going work and we would encourage other coffee businesses to follow our lead."
Mark Linehan, managing director of the SRA, explained how the rating goes beyond simply certifying cafes for their sustainable or Fairtrade coffee, and said it shows that even major operators can excel in this field.
He said: "Costa demonstrated great leadership by becoming the first café group to join the SRA. Now it can proudly boast that it's also walking the sustainable walk by putting its whole operation under the microscope."
As well as its UK stores, Costa also operates a Costa Express service within various mixed-use outlets, plus over 1,100 stores overseas. It was founded in 1971 by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa.