Carluccio’s joined the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) as a founding Member in 2010, a move Simon Kossoff the company’s Chief Executive said was at least in part a response to consumer demand. “Our customers tell us that the broad issues around sustainability are more and more important. The SRA gives us the support and confidence to start the journey and make positive changes,” he said.

When Carluccio’s completed its first sustainability rating in 2011, the company described itself as being at the start of a long journey. Like a number of SRA Members, Carluccio’s was somewhat anxious to discover how it would perform in the rating and was pleasantly surprised when the SRA awarded it One Star – equating to a good level of sustainability. The SRA’s assessors found that the company was already performing very strongly in two of the three pillars of sustainability – Society and Environment.

With a company-wide determination to improve on this encouraging start to the journey, the SRA and Carluccio’s collaborated on a plan to build on this initial rating, particularly in the Sourcing section. The company had a policy of buying a good deal of its produce from Italy.

Change for the better

Carluccio’s 2012 rating showed a significant improvement in all areas, doubling its score in the sourcing section and making marked advances across both Society and Environment, achieving Two Stars.

Changing the menu twice a year to match the seasons with fortnightly specials, sourcing the majority of eggs, milk, pork, beef and lamb from the UK and serving Rainforest Alliance certified coffee, all contributed to this improvement.

Behind the scenes, the SRA noted Carluccio’s involvement with local and national charities, including Action Against Hunger, Macmillan Cancer Care Oxford and The Clink Charity as well as running cookery classes with Kids Company.

Simon Kossoff is proud of the extensive work the company has done to support a range of good causes. “I always wanted the team at Carluccio’s to work together on something important that was outside the activity of the company. The connection between the privilege of eating as leisure and supporting a charity focused on helping the hungry is a compelling one. That’s what Action Against Hunger is about and we’re delighted to support them.”

In 2013, the dedicated SRA Account Manager for Carluccio’s sat down with the company and they worked together to identify further areas for improvement and in 2014 the company celebrated two momentous achievements – a Three Star rating and the SRA Award for Innovation at the Sustainable Restaurant Awards.

The new measures to help Carluccio’s achieve its third star included a wholesale switch to free range eggs and environmentally friendly cleaning products. Carluccio’s has also started sending its food waste for anaerobic digestion, and is sending a whopping 3,400 tonnes less waste to landfill, equivalent to 1,000 fully loaded double-decker buses.

Awards

Carluccio’s received the Sustainable Innovation award in recognition of it becoming the first major restaurant business to sign up to Good Food Talks which helps the visually impaired access menus via an app.

The Future

Simon Kossoff made it clear that, while he was happy with the progress the company is making, it will not be resting on its laurels. He said: “By changing the way we behave as a business, we are aiming to improve both the social and environmental impact of our operations. We know this is just the start of a long journey for us with much more work to do, but we’re proud of the steps we’ve taken so far.”

Consequently, plans are already well underway to implement further positive changes to cement Carluccio’s status as a Three Star sustainable restaurant group.

Changes that made the difference

  • Initiating a free range egg policy
  • Switching from uncertified, imported to British sugar
  • Introducing organic wine
  • Separating food waste
  • Using environmentally friendly cleaning products

Top Tips

  1. Operating a large, national group means we have the power to make a big difference but implementing change can be hard. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Becoming more sustainable has to be sustainable.
  2. It’s absolutely essential to ensure the whole team is involved in the process and everyone understands what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.