The new restaurant scored 89% in the SRA’s comprehensive sustainability Star Rating, surpassing the scores of 87% for River Cottage HQ at Park Farm and 84% at The River Cottage Canteen, Axminster, in 2011.

The Canteen in Plymouth narrowly beat Dixcart Bay Hotel, Sark, to the top spot, which scored 88% in its rating in July.

According to SRA assessors Canteen Plymouth particularly impressed with its commitment to sourcing from local, independent suppliers and using meat, poultry and dairy from animals kept to high standards of welfare.

The restaurant is trying to find a way to have local honey, fruit and vegetables delivered to the restaurant by sail boat to reduce carbon emissions from transport.

River Cottage managing director, Rob Love, said: “When we created the Canteen in Plymouth from scratch it was our aim for it to be our most sustainable restaurant yet, and we’re delighted to have achieved this so quickly with additional thanks to the fantastic support from the local community.

“We would also like to congratulate the SRA for their work in this area and their recognition of our focus on sustainability, not just on what we deliver on the plate but beyond to our employees, our approach to energy and recycling and our place in the community.”

SRA’s comprehensive sustainability Star Rating process requires restaurants to provide answers and evidence to 70 questions under three main headings, Sourcing, Environment and Society, covering everything from the provenance of their produce to how they manage their waste and energy, as well as how they treat their staff and engage with the local community.

Managing director of the SRA, Mark Linehan, said “River Cottage Canteen Plymouth has set the standard for others to follow. Restaurants of all types, across the UK can learn from their outstanding commitment to running the business in the most sustainable way possible.

“The best part is, we’ve identified potential improvements we know River Cottage will do its best to implement and there are other restaurants striving for an even better rating.”

Leigh Stringer

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