Story at a glance
- Sweetgreen, a fast casual restaurant chain known for its seasonal salads and fresh local produce, is partnering with Watershed, which helps businesses measure their carbon footprint.
- The company announced a six-year plan to become carbon neutral by 2027 by cutting their carbon emissions in half.
- The restaurant industry, which has taken a hit during the coronavirus pandemic, is a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions.
Fast casual chains serving fresh, seasonal salads felt like a game changer for many working professionals. Now, there’s another reason to feel good about your lunchtime choice: You’re saving the planet.
Well, not you exactly, but as companies like sweetgreen are becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint, customers have the power to drive change.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE RIGHT NOW
“Simply put, we believe it’s the right thing to do for our business and for the planet. With the food system driving 25 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the time for change is now,” said Nicolas Jammet, co-founder and Chief Concept Officer of sweetgreen, in a statement. “We know that real change doesn’t happen overnight - it’s all the steps in between, the little moments that can lead to a big impact. That’s why we’re making this commitment.”
The commitment: becoming carbon neutral, or achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions, by 2027. An increasingly common buzzword in sustainability, carbon neutrality can be achieved either by balancing carbon dioxide emissions with removal or eliminating carbon dioxide emissions altogether. Sweetgreen is planning to do a little bit of both, cutting their carbon emissions in half and offsetting "where reduction isn't yet possible." The company, which is already known for fresh, seasonal and locally sourced produce, is using a software called Watershed to measure their carbon footprint.
“Sweetgreen is working across every element of the food system - how food is grown on farms, transported to customers, and consumed in restaurants - to cut emissions," said Taylor Francis, co-founder of Watershed, in a statement. “Sweetgreen’s menu is already 30 percent less carbon intensive than the average U.S. diet, and their commitment to decrease their greenhouse gas intensity by 50 percent and become carbon neutral is setting a new bar for the industry."
Of course, there’s always room for improvement, acknowledged Jammet and co-founders Nathaniel Ru and Jonathan Neman, in a post announcing the move. The chain is taking it a step further by assessing the carbon footprint of their suppliers as well as the infrastructure of their 120 restaurants across the country.
"To truly future proof our company, we must evolve our supply network and fix our relationship to the soil — and cultivate an environment that benefits the entire agricultural ecosystem: our food partners, customers, team members, and the planet," said the founders in their post.
READ MORE LIKE THIS FROM CHANGING AMERICA