By Tom Tanner, SRA Press & PR

Stuck in your own kitchen or office, tackling climate change can feel a bit overwhelming. That’s because it is! No one restaurant or even restaurant group or catering company is going to solve the biggest issue facing the planet right now. Work together as a movement and the ambition and task at hand starts to feel more manageable. A problem shared is a problem halved and all that.

That’s why the SRA started out almost ten years ago and why three and half years ago we decided to convene regular meetings of all of our larger group and chain businesses. It started with a handful of the usual suspects around one small table nervously feeling out the ‘opposition’. This week saw the 11th coming together of this group. 40+ engaged individuals representing 20 of the UK’s best-known restaurant and pub operators sat down together at Nando’s Test Kitchen in south west London. Not only were there way more people in the room but the buzz of conversation, open and honest, was much louder too.

We view these sessions as useful in so many ways. They are a great opportunity for us to catch up face to face with members. Equally it gives us a chance to bring in outside, expert organisations from our network to share specialist information – on this occasion on sustainable supply chains, soya and carbon footprinting – thanks to Action Sustainability and Provenance , Efeca, Bioregional respectively – for their insightful and really useful presentations.

Perhaps the most useful aspect of these get togethers is the opportunities they present to our members to share their successes and challenges as well as take inspiration from their fellow members. While we’re not naïve enough to believe that every trade secret is shared, the level of openness is really refreshing.

During Efeca’s talk about soya and the journey towards making it more sustainable, it was clear that a number of businesses in the room were at the start of this journey, but they felt able to say this and share some of their concerns about how best to take the critical first steps to improving their supply chain.

Equally, right at the end of the day, two of the best know brands were happy to share their experience of conducting a full carbon foot-printing exercise, which included setting ambitious reduction targets. It’s only through the willingness of the progressive and transparent that others will follow – seeing that progress really is possible and that by sharing knowledge, ambition and solutions, maybe that problem really can be halved.

Talk of net zero would have terrified restaurant groups even a couple of years ago. Cutting the carbon footprint of your menu by 50% would have seemed beyond the realms of

possibility. That is no longer the case and we’re delighted that we’re able to do our bit to bring about this progress through a combination of all that our membership offers, including these quarterly get-togethers.

 

If you’d like to find out more about the group and its work please contact Head of Membership Ylva on [email protected]