Restaurant chain aims to achieve zero direct carbon emissions and cut the carbon footprint of its meals by 2030
Restaurant chain Nando's has become the latest firm to ramp up its emissions targets in line with climate science, as it today uneviled a raft of new sustainability initiatives including efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of chicken feed in its supply chain.
Goals approved and validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which are in line with 2C of global warming, commit the firm to achieving absolute zero direct emissions and cutting the carbon footprint of a Nando's meal in half by 2030. Interim targets along the way also include achieving 100 per cent renewable energy by making all UK restaurant gas supplies renewable by 2022, starting with 40 per cent "renewable gas" by October 2020, making Nando's the first restaurant group in Europe to join the SBTi.
The company further plans to expand on its plant-based menu offering, as well as deepen partnerships with the Sustainable Restaurant Association, Future Planet and UK Round Table on Sustainable Soy, working with the latter to reduce deforestation.
In addition, the peri-peri chicken chain said it would work with its poultry suppliers and experts to reduce the carbon footprint of chicken feed, invest in sustainable chicken feed research, and join the Better Chicken Initiative to improve animal welfare. Nando's said it was essential to pair its climate goals with commitments on chicken welfare, as higher welfare chickens typically have a higher carbon footprint.
As such, it is partnering with Compassion in World Farming, FAI Farms and the Soil Association, to develop a new policy to implement higher standards of chicken welfare by 2026. By that date, the firm plans to use a breed of chicken that is naturally stronger, healthier, slower growing and more active, while giving the birds more space to roam and collaborating more closely with farmers to improve farming practices, it said.
"Today we are launching ambitious new commitments which will set a strong example for what our industry can do to make a genuine difference," said Colin Hill, Nando's CEO for UK and Ireland. "We are particularly proud, that with these targets, we will become the first in our industry to combine improvements in environmental sustainability with animal welfare."
Campaigners for more sustainable farming practices welcomed Nando's commitments, with Soil Association Deputy CEO James Cashmore warning that "the next decade is crucial for our climate, for nature and for human health".
"Nando's is a significant customer of agriculture, and we welcome the fact that it is thinking broadly and with ambition about its commitments in these areas, setting new goals whilst seeking to avoid unintended consequences, and thinking across climate, nature and health rather than grasping for shiny but siloed answers," he said.
Nando's isn't the only chicken giant seeking to tackle its environmental impact. Earlier this month, KFC announced that it is developing 3D bioprinting technology that uses chicken cells and plant material to create chicken meat, without involving animals in the process. Working with Russian firm 3D bioprinting solutions, the project will create lab-grown chicken nuggets, which are slated to debut in Moscow later this year.
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