Toolkit launched to help pubs aim for net zero emissions

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Support given: the scheme looks to help pubs do their bit in reducing the climate change crisis
Support given: the scheme looks to help pubs do their bit in reducing the climate change crisis

Related tags Social responsibility Sustainability net zero Pubs

Pubs are being urged to step up and help cut their carbon emissions with the launch of a new initiative aimed at hospitality.

The Net Zero Pubs and Bars Initiative aims to provide operators with the tools to take action to tackle the ongoing climate crisis as well as creating an industry protocol that sets out a standard for net zero carbon emissions, which pubs and bars can be certified against and receive an accreditation.

To help operators hit those targets, the scheme has also created a sector-specific digital platform to help pubs calculate their carbon emissions, set targets, get tailored reduction plans and compensate for pre-existing emissions.

The organisation behind the scheme, Net Zero Now, the sector-based climate action platform, worked with development partners Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) GB and Pernod Ricard UK (PRUK) to run a pilot of the initiative with 36 pub and bar sites including operators Peach Pubs, Darwin and Wallace and The Culpepper.

Key findings

The pilot revealed the vast majority of operators were in need of more guidance to help reduce their impact on the climate.

Other initial key findings included:

  • For food-led venues, the climate impact associated with food was around 70% of the total carbon footprint, with drinks at 8% and the rest from general operations.  
  • For wet-led sites, emissions intensity was significantly lower overall (65% lower than food-led)
  • Pubs could unlock on average a 10% reduction in total carbon emissions by switching to a renewable electricity supplier, but only 26% of the sites in the pilot had already done so.
  • Sites in the pilot were using on average 30% more energy than best practice energy efficiency levels. The Net Zero Pubs and Bars protocols includes a range of simple actions such as reducing drafts, turning down thermostats, switching to LED lighting and changing kitchen habits that could reduce energy use by 10% and carbon emissions by one to two per cent.
  • If all pubs in the pilot switched half of their dairy to non-dairy alternatives, they could save up to 700 tonnes of carbon. That’s the equivalent of saving the carbon emitted from using 80,000 litres of petrol.
  • The average cost per cover to compensate for a pub or bar’s carbon emissions through Net Zero Now’s Climate Compensation Charge is only around 5p (with a range of less than 1p for wet-led to a high of 7p for food-led).
  • In comparison, nearly half of respondents to a CCEP survey of operators said they expected the cost of going net zero to be between 50p and £5 per cover.  

Rolled out

The scheme, which will now be rolled out across the sector by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, aims to make the process of reducing emissions easier and more cost-effective for businesses of any size.

Both CCEP GB and Pernod Ricard UK are also leading by example. Pernod Ricard UK has committed to reaching net zero in its own operations and to reducing by 50% the intensity of its overall carbon footprint by 2030, with a target to reach net zero overall by 2050. CCEP has committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its total value chain by 30% by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions across the whole value chain by 2040.

Simon Heppner, CEO of Net Zero Now, said: “For the first time, the licensed trade has a clear pathway to net zero carbon emissions and a dedicated platform which puts the tools for action on the climate crisis in the hands of all businesses regardless of size. 

“The pilot programme has shown us that there is a strong demand from operators to make a positive change – and with the support of CCEP and PRUK, we’re able to make it simpler and cost-effective for them to do so.”

Juliane Caillouette-Noble, Managing Director of the SRA, said: “The findings from the pilot demonstrate the huge potential of the Net Zero Protocols for Pubs and Bars.

"They’ve enabled the pilot sites not only to increase their understanding of their climate impact, but also, and really importantly, to identify and action steps to reduce that impact. This provides us with an exciting opportunity to roll this out across hospitality, particularly to SMEs, putting climate action in the hands of forward-thinking businesses across the UK.”   


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