Wahaca tops Which? list of sustainable UK restaurant groups

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Wahaca named most sustainable UK restaurant group by Which?

Related tags Sustainability Social responsibility Which? Wahaca Multi-site Nando's Frankie & Benny's

Wahaca has topped a list of 28 UK restaurant chains in terms of their sustainability credentials.

The Mexican restaurant group was awarded the highest eco-credentials in a report by consumer group Which?, followed by Nando’s, Frankie & Benny’s, Young’s & Co Pubs, Pret a Manger and Wagamama.

Greggs and KFC came last in the rankings, partly because they didn’t share key data with Which?, with some companies refusing to share any information at all, it says.

The eco-restaurant rankings are based on information the restaurants shared when asked, and include rankings for resources and emissions, sourcing policies, waste and plastic use, transparency and targets.

Wahaca came top overall with a score of 84%, followed by Nando’s (81%), and Frankie & Benny’s (75%). Greggs and KFC came joint last with a score of 38%.

Wahaca scored highly for its sourcing policies, serving free-range chicken, pork and eggs, as well as transparency and customer choice. All of its fish is MSC-certified and it sources palm oil, soya, tea, coffee and sugar sustainably.

The group also champions plant-based eating, and 60% of its menu is vegetarian. It is also the only restaurant in the survey that lists the carbon emissions for each of the dishes on its menu.

The results of the report are based on information 28 restaurants shared with Which? in July last year of their last complete year’s reporting. The overall score is based on resources and emissions, including emissions data, water consumption and the proportion of energy that comes from renewables; sourcing policies, including foods that have a high environmental impact, cleaning products, plastics and packaging; waste and plastics; transparency and customer choice; and targets – including reduction targets for emissions, net zero and resource efficiencies.

Some scores were awarded relative to the size of the company.

'Not an accurate assessment'

Responding to the report, Zero Carbon Forum says it does ‘not accurately assessed the sector’s and operators’ progress in sustainability’, saying the ranking is not based on an accurate assessment of all the actions operators need to take.

Forum members include many which appear in the report, including Burger King, Five Guys, Frankie & Benny’s, JD Wetherspoon, KFC, McDonald’s UK, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, Pizza Express, TGI Friday’s, Young & Co, Wagamama and Zizzi.

In a statement it says: “Zero Carbon Forum welcomes the spotlight on achieving net zero in hospitality. However, the Which? Sustainable Restaurant report’s ranking of operators doesn’t include many of the 155 initiatives the sector has identified it can take to reach net zero. As a result, it doesn’t accurately reflect the sector’s and operators’ progress on sustainability.”

“While the Which? report overall shows that positive progress is being made – progress that Zero Carbon Forum is helping to facilitate as a non-profit collaborative group - the ranking isn’t helpful as it isn’t based on an accurate assessment of all the actions operators need to take.

“The sector’s biggest impact is food and drink and measuring impact in the supply chain is critical. Whilst the report questions whether an outlet sells water in glass or plastic bottles, it doesn’t ask about whether there is a net zero strategy in place, or if operators are engaging their major suppliers.” 

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