Environmental Strategy, Green Business

Restaurants are fast becoming world’s principal source of waste production plus energy consumption. This matter is getting severe day by day thereby taking a serious toll on to the environment strategy. A survey done by Pacific Gas & Electric’s Food Service Technology Center states that the restaurants use nearly five times extra energy per square foot than the majority of commercial buildings hampering the green business policy. Inefficiency in food storage, food preparation plus water usage are main contributors to this problem. The food itself raises a number of environmental concerns.

Restaurants are catered to generate terrific amount of waste. On an average, a restaurant can produce up to 150,000 pounds of garbage each year. Besides on-site energy consumption, ingredient transport from thousands of miles away is yet another source of carbon emissions.

Factory farms and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are a huge non-point source of runoff pollution, degrading surface and groundwater supplies.

High levels of nitrates and phosphorous in agricultural runoff cause algal blooms which are severely depleting oxygen levels producing vast “dead zones”. CAFOs keep animals in restrained, unhealthy spaces thus compromising with the health and general well-being of the livestock pre-slaughter.

High nitrate levels in well water are causing blue baby syndrome in infants, jeopardizing circulatory and heart health of newborns and pregnant women. Institutionalized greening initiatives are emerging to modify the current restaurant procedures through energy and water conservation, waste reduction, and sustainable purchasing. A few examples of these initiatives are being discussed as follows:

•Green Restaurant Association:
This association was formed in 1990, with an aim to create a sustainable restaurant industry. It provided tools for restaurants, consumers, manufacturers as well as distributors with an aim to make choices which would be healthy for the environment. The GRA provides some certification standards in order to reward restaurants, restaurant renovators or new build restaurants. These certifications cover a number of environmental categories including waste reduction and recycling, sustainable food, and chemical and pollution reduction.

•Green Seal:
Established in 1989, Green Seal sets nationally-recognized standards for green restaurants, basing its criteria in life-cycle analysis and scientific research. It is an independent non-profit organization offering third-party certification for products and companies that meet certain sustainability standards. Green Seal certification is accompanied by site audits and regular monitoring to ensure the maintenance of sustainability standards.

•Conserve Initiative:
The National Restaurant Association’s Conserve Initiative  is an online resource developed by the restaurant industry for the restaurant industry. It helps restaurants to reduce energy, waste and water thereby cutting down costs.  The program features an easy-to-use checklist, divided into six categories, providing over 90 industry-tested best practices for maintain restaurant standards and reducing the waste production.