Zero Carbon Forum launches roadmap for hospitality sector to reach net zero

19 October 2021 by
Zero Carbon Forum launches roadmap for hospitality sector to reach net zero

The Zero Carbon Forum has today (19 October) launched a roadmap designed to provide the hospitality industry with guidance on decarbonising businesses and strategies to reach net zero emissions by 2030 for Scope 1 and 2 and 2040 for Scope 3 (see below).

The initiative has been funded by the forum's 27 members and is backed by UKHospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA). Members including Pizza Hut Restaurants, Burger King, Revolution Bars Group and Adnams worked together to quantify the carbon impact across the hospitality industry and shared the initiatives they had taken to reduce emissions to help define the pathway to net zero. The result is a publicly accessible roadmap, published here.

The roadmap has outlined trends, sector emission hotspots, decarbonisation opportunities and practical steps for setting net zero goals, and was developed in the context of the latest climate science through extensive consultation with forum members and sustainability experts. The action it calls for is consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Mark Chapman, chief executive and founder of the Zero Carbon Forum, said: "We need even more companies to sign up to this target date. In the coming months and years, the forum working groups will advance the decarbonisation strategies of individual members, driving decarbonisation across the sector as a whole.

"As well as longer term commitments, we're structured and focused on the actions we can take now to reduce our carbon impact. Since launching the forum, we've doubled the number of members buying renewable energy. This commitment will deliver carbon savings of 350,000t CO2 per year, the same emissions as 43,750 households. We've also launched our overnight energy initiative to optimise operational efficiency, saving operators up to £4,900 and 10t CO2 annually, per outlet.

"With over 60% of our emissions in our supply chains, we know we can have an even bigger impact through our ongoing partnerships, engaging our suppliers and customers to help lower the carbon impact of the food and drink we serve.

"While the climate crisis presents fundamental risks to hospitality, it also highlights an immense opportunity. By working together, we can do better."

Speaking at the launch of the roadmap, which took place earlier today at the Serpentine Gallery in London, Rob Pitcher, chief executive of Revolution Bars Group, said the company was taking a "radical" step to reducing its carbon emissions.

"Our Porn Star Martini is our number one selling drink, we fly in one million fruits from around the world during the year, but we're going to remove these and try and save the planet one passion fruit at a time," he said, adding that customers are looking for leadership from businesses to make the right choice.

"You cut it in half, drop it on the drink, it looks great, but it actually gets in the way, hits your nose and ends up in the bin – it's pointless and its our biggest carbon product we have on the menu."

Revolution has also set up a centre of excellence at its Reading bar to trial the latest technologies that can help it reduce its carbon footprint. Any innovations it discovers will be shared share with members of the Forum. "It's important to take out duplication of costs out of the industry by sharing best practice," he said.

Emma McClarkin, BBPA chief executive, said cost was a huge hurdle for businesses trying to become more sustainable and the debt the industry has accrued over the pandemic could have gone towards paying for the sustainability journey. "Those outdoor heaters we had to buy to keep businesses alive, we're now being told not to use them anymore," she added, calling on the government to provide more financial support.

McClarkin said that the industry needs a competitive energy market to provide consistent renewable energy to support pubs, bars and breweries: "We're rebuilding [post-Covid] and trying to build back better and have more sustainable trade throughout the business, but the pandemic and pressures on the supply chain is a big barrier to that. Our industry also has a lot of historic buildings – some of our pubs and breweries are over 200 years old – the very fabric of these buildings and locations at the heart of historic towns have big challenges to overcome."

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said Covid had thrust hospitality under the spotlight and now consumers are looking at the industry to show guidance. "We can't duck this one, we need to show thought leadership," she said.

She said: "Covid has made what was already a very collaborative sector, even more collaborative and any business, however small, can now take very small incremental steps and a large number of small steps will achieve a huge result for carbon net zero for the sector as a whole."

She added the Forum was helpful for the entire industry to understand what changes they can implement to make a difference: "People get put off by not knowing what to do and how to do it, especially if you're an SME still focused on surviving, but you can leverage the strengths of the biggest companies across the sector and make it accessible for everyone."

What are Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions?

Scope 1: All direct emissions produced by a company, such as emissions from fuel combustion on site for heating or cooking, and emissions from fuel used in company-owned vehicles.

Scope 2: Indirect emissions from purchased electricity, steam, heating, or cooling generated off-site but consumed by the company.

Scope 3: All other indirect emissions across the supply chain, such as purchased goods and services, business travel and employee commuting, as well as ‘downstream' transportation and distribution, use of products and franchises. It can include agricultural activities to produce ingredients and emissions from the disposal of packaging waste.

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