Costa served with ‘excellent’ sustainable café rating

Coffee shop chain Costa has become the first café business in the UK to join the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), after being named a 'Two Star Sustainability Champion' by the organisation.

The Whitbread-owned company, which operates more than 1,800 cafés across the country, has been awarded this status as part of a new industry sustainability scheme launched by the SRA earlier this year.

The SRA’s managing director Mark Linehan said: “We developed this programme in answer to public demand for cafés to be more progressive and not simply rely on the ethical certification of their coffee as enough to demonstrate their sustainability.

“Costa demonstrated great leadership by becoming the first café group to join the SRA. Now it can proudly boast that it’s also walking the sustainable walk by putting its whole operation under the microscope – not just in terms of the coffee it sources, but also its proactive approach to its social and environment impact.

“Costa has shown that it is possible for major operators to excel, and we would urge others to drive sustainable innovation in the industry.”


The SRA launched the new scheme ‘to support and guide the UK’s more than 10,000 cafes on their sustainability journey’. The Sustainability Rating involves completing a survey, providing answers and evidence to questions across 14 areas of sustainability. 

Cafés are given a One, Two or Three-Star Sustainability Champion status based on the provenance of their beverages, sandwiches and cakes, as well as their energy, waste and water efficiency. The survey also includes an assessment of staff treatment and community engagement.

Costa was given its Two-Star status for using a wide range of ingredients from British producers; seasonal sourcing policies and good waste management practices, giving it a score of between 60-70% from the SRA.

Walking the walk

Costa’s corporate responsibility manager Sandy Gourlay said: “Costa is deeply committed to our corporate responsibility programme. From the recent announcement of the launch of our new apprenticeships programme to our ongoing work to reduce waste across the business, we are always seeking to reduce our environmental impact and maximise our investment in our people and wider sustainable practices.

“We are delighted to have been recognised by the SRA for this ongoing work and we would encourage other coffee businesses to follow our lead in this area. There is so much good work going on in the cafe sector that we feel it is important for coffee shop operators, no matter how large or small, to be able to be recognised by their customers for their work in sustainability.”

Costa hit the headlines again last month when it launched a new ‘Eco Pod’ cafe concept, incorporating an array of innovative energy-saving technologies that could have a huge impact on the future of sustainable building design in the hospitality sector. Read more here.

Luke Nicholls

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