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

At Le Pain Quotidien, we believe that our environment is everything. Our mission to serve fresh, wholesome food means that we consider the impact we have on the environment in nearly every aspect of our business. In this vein, we are thrilled to announce that our New York restaurants have been certified carbon neutral by the climate advisory organization CO2logic – an exciting step for us in our ongoing sustainability journey.

What does it mean to be carbon neutral? To become certified carbon neutral, we calculated our carbon emissions, made efforts to bring them to as low a level as possible, and then offset those that are unavoidable by investing a carbon-reducing project elsewhere.

How did we achieve carbon neutrality? After calculating our own carbon emissions, one of the major actions we took to reduce them was retrofitting all lighting in our New York restaurants with LED lights, a simple step that allowed us to cut down on light-energy consumption by an astounding 80%. We have taken this retrofit initiative nationwide and are building all new restaurants with LED lighting. We have also made strides in using more efficient refrigeration, cooking and cooling operations to make our carbon footprint as small as possible.

Of course, restaurant operations still create some carbon emissions. That’s where the offset comes in – we are supporting a Gold Standard-certified project in Uganda that distributes efficient cooking stoves to reduce wood consumption. This helps to lower deforestation and reduce toxic fumes, while still enabling local families to have effective and functional cooking methods which, of course, we at Le Pain Quotidien understand is a fundamental part of a happy life.

We are incredibly proud to be part of the carbon neutrality movement, a sentiment that was perhaps best captured by our global CEO, Vincent Herbert: “we want to be part of the growing community that addresses climate change by reducing our climate impact – and this is just the beginning.” It is just the beginning – from here, we hope to soon expand this carbon neutral program nationwide, and one day, globally.