How can we help businesses across the industry reduce their carbon footprint by switching to green energy?

Energy has a huge cost to the foodservice sector – both financial and environmental. Bills for gas and electricity stack up to well over £1bn, representing more than 20% of overheads.

And the cost to the planet? The equivalent of 8 million tonnes of carbon. Ecotricity and the SRA joined forces to raise operators’ awareness of the true cost of their energy choice and use and to highlight the environmental and business benefits of a green energy policy. The two organisations have worked together since 2017 when they collaborated on the SRA’s month-long #EnergySmart campaign and in 2019 they published Your Guide to Going Green..

As part of a business-wide commitment to create a sustainable street food experience, KERB approached the SRA for its expert advice and support so that it could open the new flagship site in September 2019 with sustainability built in and a plan to ensure all traders meet agreed sustainability standards over a set timetable that ambitious but achievable. The SRA engaged with KERB’s nearly 100 traders to provide tailored sustainability surveys, reports, resources and consultancy.

Commercial kitchens are energy hungry. While there is an increasing understanding of the carbon embedded in the food operators source and serve, implementing a more sustainable energy policy can be a quicker and simpler means of starting on the road to reducing a business’s footprint.

The SRA and Ecotricity have been working on an ongoing campaign to increase the sector’s understanding of the impact of its energy decisions, supporting it to make better and more informed decisions while also keeping the bottom line in mind. With just one of five businesses to have completed the Food Made Good Sustainability Rating reporting that they source 100% renewable energy, the need is unarguable.

Building on initial awareness raising of the benefits of green energy and simple reduction hacks, as part of the SRA’s 2017 #EnergySmart campaign, we resolved to produce a definitive guide for the sector.

A first crucial step in the planning of this involved Ecotricity and the SRA co-facilitating a myth-busting session with a collection of some of the UK’s largest foodservice groups and chains – at one of their quarterly SRA working group meetings.

The gaps in knowledge, challenges and barriers to adopting a green energy policy identified in this session informed the next stage of the process.

Using Ecotricity’s energy expertise and the SRA’s inside knowledge of the sector, Your Guide to Going Green is a bespoke in-depth toolkit designed to support operators to build an energy policy that drives down their carbon footprint, provides the lowdown on making the switch to green energy and includes a host of efficiency measures to keep a cap on costs.

By implementing the behavioural changes and efficiencies outlined in the toolkit, businesses can enjoy a 20% reduction in energy use – equivalent to a 5% increase in sales. And by switching from a brown tariff to a deep green one there are huge environmental gains as it takes more than 6,000 trees to absorb the 13,243 kg of C02 produced annually by a typical restaurant using brown energy.

An active social media campaign supported the launch of the guide which has been downloaded xx times.

The SRA has also used Ecotricity’s channels to communicate wider sustainability issues to its foodservice customers.

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