UK's largest pub company and WSH join Zero Carbon Forum

The UK's largest pub company Stonegate Group and hospitality giant Westbury Street Holdings (WSH) have joined the Zero Carbon Forum initiative, which is developing a roadmap to net-zero for the industry.

Image: Stonegate group

Image: Stonegate group

The Zero Carbon Forum first launched in December 2020 and, with the addition of Stonegate Group and WSH, now convenes 27 businesses across the hospitality sector, including pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes, caterers and food-to-go outlets.

Stonegate Group manages and owns more than 4,500 sites across the UK, with owned brands including Be at One, Slug & Lettuce, Walkabout, Craft Union and Vixen Pub Company. It is yet to develop a corporate responsibility strategy that covers the entire Group but, according to the Zero Carbon Forum, has begun making interventions to improve energy efficiency, recycling levels and the use of renewable energy.

“The Forum represents power and knowledge in numbers, and we look forward to sharing and learning best practices from fellow industry Forum members,” Stonegate Group’s director of risk Spencer Bloomberg said.

As for WSH, the firm’s brands range from restaurants, to delis, coffee shops, to hospitality catering. Brands include BaxterStorey, Benugo and Caterlink. WSH has been a carbon-neutral business since 2007 and is now working to develop 1.5C-aligned science-based targets for reducing emissions in-house further.

WSH’s director of sustainable business Mike Hanson said: “The Zero Carbon Forum makes working together as an industry possible. WSH has committed to the highest level of ambition in the short and long-term to reach net-zero. We welcome the collaboration of the Forum and its members to help us to deliver a roadmap to be net-zero and achieve this, at speed, together.” 

“We’re thrilled that these collective industry powerhouses, driven by highly inspiring and experienced leaders, have joined the Zero Carbon Forum,” the initiative’s founder and chief executive Mark Chapman said.

The Zero Carbon Forum is planning to unveil its roadmap to net-zero ahead of COP26 in Glasgow this November. The deadline remains to be seen but is expected to be ahead of the UK’s legally binding 2050 deadline. Interim targets will be included in the document.

Low-carbon Revolution

In related news, Revolution Bars Group – one of the founding Zero Carbon Forum members – has posted a 19% reduction in energy consumption between 2017 and 2020.

The firm, which operates 67 bars across the UK, is striving to reach net-zero by 2030 and claims that the energy efficiency measures have reduced its carbon footprint by 1430 tonnes over the three-year period.

Revolution Bars Group worked with consultancy Net Zero to measure and reduce Scope 1 (direct) and 2 (power-related) emissions, making moves such as switching to green electricity tariffs and fitting more energy-efficient lighting, as well as new building energy control systems. The Group also developed and launched a new employee engagement scheme called ‘Zero Hero’, whereby a sustainability ‘champion’ is appointed at each location and trained to engage their respective team.

“Climate change is a massive issue that’s not going to be solved overnight, but it’s a huge positive for me that the company has taken the initiative and become one of the first big Bar operators to commit to sustainability targets,” said the champion for Revolucion de Cuba in Birmingham, Brett Johnson. “Hopefully, many others will follow suit."

Revolution Bars Group’s next step on the road to net-zero will be developing 1.5C-aligned science-based targets. It has 24 months to submit targets and achieve verification from the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Earlier this summer, the SBTi announced plans to phase out 2C targets and to raise minimum target-setting requirements to 1.5C.

Sarah George



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