LEON debuts 'carbon-neutral' burgers and fries

Fast-food chain LEON has measured the carbon footprint of some of its most popular menu items and is offsetting the equivalent emissions by investing in forests.

The offsets will fund forest conservation overseas and forest creation in the UK

The offsets will fund forest conservation overseas and forest creation in the UK

The business has partnered with environmental solutions provider ClimatePartner to measure the carbon impact of its range of burgers and fries across their lifecycle, including ingredient production, product manufacturing, storage, cooking, packaging use and waste.

ClimatePartner then provides a pathway through which LEON can invest in rainforest conservation projects in South America and afforestation efforts in the UK, so that the trees can sequester the CO2e equivalent.

In this way, the brand can offer ‘carbon neutral’ menu options to customers. From today (13 January), a ‘carbon-neutral’ label will be added to baked waffle fries, the LOVe Burger, the Chargrilled Chicken Burger and the Fish Finger Burger, as well as two new burgers called Crispy Chicken Parm and Vegan Sweet Carolina BBQ.

LEON recently committed to becoming a net-zero business by 2030 and said in a statement that the decision to communicating its offsetting approach using ‘carbon neutral’ menu items will help engage consumers with the journey. The brand believes it is the first of its kind to offer a carbon-neutral burger and fries.

LEON’s values and sustainability director Kirsty Saddler called the move “an important next step” in the brand’s sustainability journey. LEON has championed seasonal, plant-based food since it was founded in 2004 and has been sourcing 100% renewable electricity through EcoTricty for several years now. Moreover, LEON’s chief executive and co-founder John Vincent heads up the Council for Sustainable Business, created to advise Defra on the private sector’s role in tackling climate change and nature loss at scale by 2030.

A record-breaking Veganuary

The launch of LEON’s ‘climate neutral’ labels comes during a month where more than 500,000 people have committed to eat a vegan diet, with a view to changing their dining habits in the long-term.

The commitment is orchestrated by the Veganuary campaign and has seen the largest number of pledges since it was founded in 2014.

Vegan and vegetarian diets have been growing in popularity for several years now, with concerns about health and animal welfare being compounded by a growing recognition of the environmental impact of industrial meat, fish and dairy production.

But the events of 2020 are believed to have accelerated the trend. Analysis from investor group FAIRR, published after reports of Covid-19 outbreaks at several major meat plants, concluded that 44 of the world’s largest meat, fish and dairy companies are considered “high-risk” in terms of pandemic vulnerabilities. Moreover, people are increasingly aware of the links between habitat degradation, often caused by the production of beef, and the spread of zoonotic diseases.

With the market for plant-based protein growing rapidly, LEON is not the only UK-based food-to-go outlet debuting new vegan menu items this month. You can read edie’s roundup detailing new offerings from the likes of Costa Coffee, Wagamama and Taco Bell here.

Sarah George



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