Edit: As of October 2016, all of our U.S. restaurants are certified carbon neutral.

You may have heard that we’ve gone carbon neutral in over 40 New York and Connecticut restaurants. For us, this is no small feat – these restaurants, which net a whopping zero carbon emissions, are a testament to our commitment to making a greener world. We’re not stopping here – our goal is to go carbon neutral nationally in 2016, and globally by 2020!

How We’re Getting There

We’ve partnered with CO2logic – an organization devoted to fighting climate change – to implement a 3-step strategy for reducing our carbon footprint.

Carbon emissions are one of the main causes of climate change. By reducing our restaurants’ emissions, we can combat rather than contribute to global warming.

Calculate

Unfortunately, all the processes that occur in a restaurant – like cooking, cooling and lighting – can produce a lot of carbon. That’s why the first step to reducing our emissions is calculating how much our restaurants emit!

With the help of CO2logic’s certified measurement tools, we calculated the footprint of our restaurants. These measurements helped us pinpoint areas in need of reform.

Reduce

Next, it’s time to take action to reduce our climate impact. Nationally, we retrofitted restaurants with LED lights that slashed light-energy consumption by 80%. We’re also building all new restaurants with LED lighting, and we’ve switched to more efficient refrigeration, cooking and cooling operations to further limit energy consumption as much as possible.

News_LED - Content

Offset 

Despite our best efforts, restaurants by nature still consume some energy – from cooling and heating to cooking, and as a result create some degree of carbon emissions. But, don’t think we’re letting that fact slide – beyond keeping emissions to the bare minimum of what’s necessary for our restaurants to run, we’re offsetting any unavoidable emissions by supporting projects that reduce emissions elsewhere. This offset is what’s made our NY and Connecticut restaurants 100% carbon neutral!

Uganda Stove Project family

Specifically, we’ve joined Gold Standard – a certification body that works to maximize climate and development funding – in supporting Upenergy’s improved cook stove project in Uganda. Upenergy is a Uganda based organization that makes clean energy technologies accessible to communities in developing countries. The stoves Upenergy is providing Ugandan communities replace traditional, three-stone fires with more efficient appliances.

Uganda Stove Project construction

Uganda Stove Project process

Uganda Stove Project

The effect? Over 125,000 Ugandans have been upgraded, avoiding 30,000 tons of toxic fume-producing carbon emissions and saving 120,000 trees and counting from deforestation. Not to mention, receiving families save $72 annually in fuel costs.

Supporting this special project allows us to extend our mission – of being kinder to our planet, and uniting more communities around wholesomely produced food – beyond our restaurants’ walls.

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We hope communicating these goals will help us bring awareness to reducing carbon emissions and inspire others to join us. In the meantime, we’re seizing the opportunity to help our planet by working toward carbon neutrality in all 230 plus of our restaurants across 18 countries.

We look forward to building a more wholesome future – for our guests, and communities that lay beyond!

As always, we’re happy to answer your questions! Feel free to drop us a line in the comments.