Net-zero pubs and bars initiative launched

Pubs and bars will be able to become ‘certified net-zero’ following the launch of two new initiatives this week.

The net-zero pubs and bars initiatives will help businesses tackle net-zero, from defining what it means for the on-trade to providing guidance on emissions reductions.

There will also be a standard against which outlets can achieve ‘net-zero accreditation’; this will help them “showcase their achievement and engage customers”, according to the launch press release.

The Sustainable Restaurant Association will deliver the programme in Great Britain. The protocols for the scheme have yet to be decided. A pilot will be run over the summer, with final details expected at the COP26 climate talks in November in Glasgow.

Some of hospitality’s larger businesses are also working on a sector-wide roadmap to achieve net-zero ahead of the 2050 target the government has set. Pizza Express, Burger King, Nando’s, Greene King, Adnams, Mitchells & Butlers and InterContinental Hotels Group are all involved in the ‘net-zero forum’, which expects to publish a plan before the Glasgow event.

The SRA’s scheme – supported by Coca-Cola through its ‘Open’ campaign to help pubs, cafés and restaurants build back better following the pandemic – is aimed at smaller enterprises struggling to grapple with what net-zero means to them.

Research earlier this year by Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment and the British Standards Institute showed that just one in five SMEs have committed to a net-zero target.

Meanwhile, almost a third (32%) of business decision makers with 11-50 employees said they don’t fully understand what net-zero is, whereas only 19% of respondents at large companies (those with over 1,000 workers) said the same. Just 16% of small business decision makers believe their colleagues possess a ‘high knowledge’ of the net-zero target – 20 percentage points lower than those in large companies.

SRA managing director Juliane Caillouette-Noble said many hospitality businesses want to be part of the solution but “the concept of net-zero can feel intangible and unachievable. We’re really excited to be the delivery partner for the net-zero pub and bar protocol because it is tailored to the unique features and needs of the sector,” she added.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said recently that: “It’s crucial to the survival and success of our industry that we build back better. Cutting greenhouse gas emissions makes business sense, and generally means lower operating costs as well.”

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