The Sustainable Restaurant Association has teamed up with retail landlord Hammerson to create the first ever marker of sustainability for food destinations.
Dubbed the "Sustainable Restaurant Association Food Destination rating", the new initiative will be applied to a range of sites, including shopping centres, airports, stadiums and stations, with the aim of encouraging businesses to improve the responsibility of their operations.
The accreditation builds on the SRA's existing sustainability awards, which assess individual restaurants on criteria including sourcing of ingredients, impact on the environment, and how well they treat staff and customers. Restaurants can win anything up to three stars and become a sustainability champion if they are judged highly.
WestQuay is the first location to achieve the new rating, and has achieved the three star sustainability champion status. This means that the 17 million people who pass through its doors every year should have the chance to choose a restaurant that is committed to responsible and efficient practices towards food, water, energy and waste. Two brands, Tortilla and Costa, have already been rated, while others are set for judging later this year.
Tortilla is rolling out the scheme across is 11 nationwide restaurants, as Hammerson plans to take it to its other shopping centres, including the Bullring (Birmingham), the Oracle (Reading) and Union Square (Aberdeen).
Peter Cooper, Hammerson retail portfolio director, said: "This is a great initiative that will have tangible benefits for us as a landlord and for our restaurateurs. Not only does it provide us and our restaurants with constant areas of improvement, it also gives our consumers a meaningful benchmark when it comes to dining, and a better understanding of the quality of the product. "
Mark Linehan, managing director of the SRA, said: "Hammerson has demonstrated great market leadership and forward thinking. It also shows that the company is responding to consumer demand by requiring operators to act responsibly and communicate their sustainable behaviour. We are looking forward to working closely together."