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The natural environment provides the business with the resources it needs to operate. We take our responsibility to protect that environment seriously and, therefore, last year we reviewed our sustainability strategy and set stretching targets to reduce the negative impact of our business.

We have aligned our objectives with the UN Sustainable Development Goals in order to focus our efforts on the global priorities. Our aim is to embed a sustainable way of doing business within our current operations such that it becomes business as usual and we are doing that through a Board-level committee, steering committee and focused workstreams with representatives from across the business.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions FY2019

Breakdown of greenhouse gas emissions for FY2019

The challenge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is central to our sustainability strategy and remains a priority for the business. The Board are actively involved and supportive of these ambitions and influence the strategy directly through the Corporate Responsibility Committee. We are building measurable, data led initiatives to achieve our target reduction, allowing us to clearly understand our progress. We continue to consult with third parties to measure our emissions footprint and to explore opportunities for reduction. We are also a founding member of the Zero Carbon Forum, bringing the hospitality sector together to share best practice, tackle group challenges and to develop a roadmap of reduction for the sector.

Our current target is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by FY2030, measuring scope 1, 2 and 3 gases and using FY 2019 as a baseline. Greenhouse gas emissions in the year reduced by 68% against the FY 2019 baseline, primarily reflecting the periods of closure during the year.

We are working hard to reduce our scope 1 and 2 emissions by lowering the consumption of energy within our businesses and by developing a programme of investment to enhance the efficiency of our buildings and equipment. In addition to focusing on reducing our energy consumption we have worked with our energy providers to ensure that 100% of the energy we use is generated from renewable sources.

Our food purchases represent the largest single contributor to our emissions footprint and capture the emissions generated in the production of the ingredients we use in our menus. This is typical of a restaurant or catering company and reinforces the importance of understanding the food we serve to our guests and the impact that has on the environment. We are working with the World Resources Institute on the Cool Food Pledge programme to develop a roadmap to achieve a significant reduction in the emissions generated by the food we serve. The emissions reduction plan will be designed to lessen the negative impact food production has on biodiversity and maintaining high standards of animal welfare.

As part of our commitment to the environment, a project was initiated in 2018 to reduce our expenditure on new catering equipment by refurbishing and reusing old, formerly redundant, kit.

Previously, when our pubs and restaurants were converted to other brands, kitchen equipment that was no longer needed to deliver the new menu was removed and put into landfill. This was also the case when we remodelled kitchens as part of our regular maintenance programme. There was, therefore, an opportunity to reduce our environmental impact and expenditure by reconditioning equipment that was deemed to still have economic life.

The process is straightforward.

Our Kitchen Design Managers grade the relevant equipment from 1 to 4, with anything graded 1–3 deemed as fit to be reused elsewhere in our estate and anything graded 4 being stripped down for spare parts to be used on other pieces of kitchen kit. The kit is then transported to a central warehouse from where our contractors assess, clean, test, service and deliver the refurbished equipment to a set cost structure.

Our operational teams have embraced the new way of working with comments such as "the equipment looks brand new", "it's hard to tell the difference" and "it's good we're doing our bit for the environment" during the first year. Examples of the initiative in action include: Toby Carvery Maidstone where we saved over £60k by using refurbished equipment; and All Bar One Aberdeen which benefited from serviced equipment from another All Bar One site.

In the two full financial years that the project had been running, without Covid-related closures periods when the capital plan was suspended, we estimate that, through the refurbishment and reuse of kitchen equipment, we have reduced our use of landfill by 274 cubic metres.

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