The new sustainability rating will be rolled out to a variety of destinations including shopping centres, airports, stadiums and stations as retailers and restaurants increasingly seek to demonstrate their approach to responsible business.

Recent research conducted by the SRA shows that 70% of consumers would choose a sustainable restaurant given the option with more than half (52%) are prepared to pay more for a meal in a location that invests in sustainability.

The SRA has been rating individual restaurant businesses on their sustainability credentials for the past three years and a Sustainability Champion rating of up to Three Stars is awarded following assessment across three main areas: Sourcing, Environment and Society.

The first location to achieve the new Sustainable Restaurant Association Food Destination rating is Hammerson’s WestQuay shopping centre in Southampton, which now allows its 17 million annual shoppers, to choose from a range of restaurants which are signed up to sourcing ingredients more responsibly and managing food, water and energy and waste more efficiently.

WestQuay has achieved Three Star Sustainability Champion Status, the highest possible rating, and the SRA commended the shopping centre for its collaborative recycling initiatives with the restaurants and its ambitious targets to recycle food waste.

Hammerson demonstrated its continued commitment to sustainability at WestQuay by working with the SRA to encourage all the centre’s restaurants and cafes to participate.

Two brands have already been rated at WestQuay; Tortilla and Costa, with other catering brands taking up membership of the scheme, and more lined up to complete the rating later this year.

Mexican restaurant Tortilla is now undertaking the ratings process across its 11 restaurants nationally and Hammerson is now starting the rating process at Bullring in Birmingham, The Oracle in Reading and Union Square in Aberdeen, alongside its staff restaurant in London.

Hammerson Retail portfolio director, Peter Cooper, said: “This is a great initiative that will have tangible benefits for us as a landlord and for our restaurateurs. Not only does it provide us and our restaurants with constant areas of improvement, it also gives our consumers a meaningful benchmark when it comes to dining, and a better understanding of the quality of the product. We believe this initiative will help drive sales over the longer term as the provenance and behavior of brands is becoming increasingly more important for consumers.”

SRA managing director Mark Linehan, said: “By making WestQuay the first Food Destination rated for its sustainability, Hammerson has demonstrated great market leadership and forward thinking. It also shows that the company is responding to consumer demand by requiring operators to not only act responsibly, but to communicate their sustainable behaviour. We are really looking forward to working closely with them and their tenants at WestQuay and at other sites across the UK.”

Leigh Stringer

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