'Sustainability is a journey'

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Help for pubs to be more environmentally sustainable

Related tags Social responsibility Multi-site pub operators Pubco + head office

Operators heard top advice from voices across the sector on their sustainability journeys during a webinar as part of The Morning Advertiser's Green Initiative.
  • Watch the webinar on demand here​.

As whole, the industry is making waves around being more environmentally sustainable, according to UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls.

“There’s always more we can do. Sustainability, the green agenda, carbon net zero, it’s a journey and it’s an iterative process so it doesn’t stop and start, you’re never going to have been able to achieve everything in one go,” she said.

“But I do think the sector has made a really good start in this area by coming together, creating the Net Zero Forum and looking at building on that by providing sustainability advice in a wide range of issues because there are so many issues this touches on.”

Using produce from nearby is one way in which operators can cut food miles and therefore, decreasing their environmental impact.

The Black Bull in Sedbergh, Cumbria aims to utilise its surrounding areas and chef-patron Nina Matsunaga laid out how it balances this with using quality ingredients.

Quality v local

She said: “Produce being as local as possible is important but it also needs to be qualitatively good, which is why we don’t say everything is sourced just from Cumbria or just so and so many miles away and would make our lives quite difficult too.”

Molson Coors’ Kate Macnamara gave her take on how local sourcing plays a part in the business too.

“Local sourcing is really important no matter the size of your business. Around 80 to 90% of the goods and services we source are local in the UK and Ireland.”

Another operator perspective we heard from was Punch Pubs & Co corporate affairs and ESG lead Jon Dale.

The company’s Punch Promise is its first comprehensive ESG report, according to Dale, which is underpinned by four sustainable development goals.

He said: “We feel as though we have a duty of care to not just our employees but our management partners and publicans to be doing the right thing.”

Dale outlined how the pub company has electric vehicle charge points, has electric vehicles as fleet cars for employees and is rolling out half hourly smart meters across its management partnerships estate alongside looking at cellar cooling and fridge management systems.

Good usage

Fellow pub company Greene King also has a strong sustainability policy and similarly to Punch, includes the installation of electric vehicle charging points.

Chief communications and sustainability officer Assad Malic said: “We have been rolling out electric vehicle charging since 2019 and we are up to 247 sites.

“They aren’t all activated but they are progressively getting activated and we are seeing good usage of those.

“It’s progressing really well. The idea is it allows people to stop by a pub, go for a meal, spend some time with family and friends but also charge up their car so they are read to go on the next leg of their journey.”

Furthermore, Brewfitt specialises in drinks dispense and managing director Curtis Paxman revealed how to the company, cutting waste is key to improving sustainability.

From a customer perspective, Lumina Intelligence insight director Blonnie Whist outlined how proportion of dishes containing meat has declined by five percentage points when comparing autumn/winter 2019 to the same period in 2022.

There were also drops in the proportion of poultry on menus (20% in 2019 v 19% in 2022) and seafood (9% v 7%).

This is just a taste of what was revealed during the online event. To learn more, you can catch up on the webinar here​, where it will be available for the next three months.

Related topics Sustainability

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