North Bar/ North Brewing Co
The opening of North Bar in Leeds 25 years ago began a journey that has seen the company now known as North Brewing start making its own beer in 2015, and expanding its estate to eight sites. A new brewery and taproom at Springwell, on the Meanwood Valley Trail, was launched in 2020.
Sustainability has been at the heart of the operation from day one as the firm seeks to minimise its impact on the environment in every way it can, instilling that ethos in the people it employs, and taking the message out into the community.
You can see the evidence for that in the fleet of electric vans that patrol the streets, proudly advertising the brewer’s values as they deliver the beer. Meanwhile, staff are encouraged to make their own ‘active commute’ and North encourages Springwell workers to cycle in by providing a secure bike store and showers to freshen up, as well as hosting cycling events.
Demonstrating that sustainable solutions are often more important than cost to the business, its popular merchandising is all sourced in the UK with clothing made from organic cotton using 100% renewable electricity. And when customers have tired of them, they can swap them at exchange racks in the bars.
Coffee grounds are recycled, too, going to a local urban farm for compost.
North seeks to ensure maximum sustainability in its supply chain, too, where possible working with similar-thinking independent companies it knows well and reducing the number of deliveries.
As a member of the Net Zero Now initiative, it is currently compiling data from across the business in preparation for setting goals to further reduce its carbon emissions, sharing technologies with other small businesses to make maximum impact.
Founded in 2001, Peach Pubs now operates 20 high quality gastropubs in towns around the Midlands and the South East.
From the outset, sustainability has been a part of the company’s DNA and is embedded in one of its three core principles with the words “We Love Our Planet”. While among the 10 promises that define its mission are serving more free-range meat and plant-based dishes, sourcing sustainable fish, conserving natural resources, focusing on food waste and reducing, reusing and recycling.
Those values are impressed on candidates at the very beginning of the recruitment process, so all members of staff are on board, and each site now has a ‘Planet Hero’ among the team, specially trained and charged with keeping the company on track to reach its sustainability goals.
Reducing food waste has been a major focus for Peach over the past year. The menu has been slimmed down, half the dishes are now plant-based, and it has worked closely with suppliers to ensure, for instance, that every part of a chicken is used in balance, while vegetables are used ‘root-to-tip’, including making crisps out of the peelings.
Soups and creative specials help make sure as little produce as possible is wasted, and pubs served charity Christmas dinners to use up leftovers. Coffee grounds are offered to guests to bag up for compost at the door of the pub.
Plastic use has been reduced thanks to refillable condiment bottles while the company has persuaded suppliers to switch from cardboard delivery boxes to reusable plastic.
Peach was recently awarded a three-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association, and, as part of the Race to Net Zero collaboration with other hospitality operators and suppliers, aims to hit that target by 2023.
Revolution Bars Group
Operating 68 venues in city centres across the UK, including sister-brand Revolucion de Cuba, Revolution Bars Group specialises in cocktails and late-night entertainment while also opening for food and drink during the day. It’s headed by CEO Rob Pitcher.
A founder member of the industry’s Zero Carbon Forum, in 2019 Revolution set itself the target of reducing its own carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and is currently on track to beat that goal.
As part of that it already maintains 100% renewable electricity supply to its sites and aims to cut its water consumption by 30%, its waste to landfill by 50% and emissions in its supply chain by 30%.
In the past year Revolution has caught the imagination and attracted publicity for its efforts by throwing out the passion fruit garnish on the 1.2 million Pornstar Martinis it serves annually. They are replaced by a circle of rice paper carrying a picture of a slice of passion fruit and the message “Saving the planet one pornstar at a time”. The idea saves an incredible 37 tonnes of fruit, equivalent to 100 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
It has also recruited Zero Heroes from teams at each of its bars, charged with monitoring and championing sustainability measures and the behaviour of staff around saving energy and using the right bins. Urged on by some friendly competition between them and a league table, they have already increased recycling rates across the estate.
Future gains will come from supply chain management and the establishment of a ‘Centre of Excellence’ at Revolution’s new site in Reading where initiatives will be trialled including full LED lighting, improved insulation, energy monitoring, smart cellar cooling and the deployment of solar panels.