When we build our restaurants we always try to use as many recycled materials as possible. The wood clad walls in our Soho restaurant used to be the Slug and Lettuce floor, and the floor in our Southbank bar used to be the walls in Dishoom. It’s a nice reminder of the past, but also a nice way to reduce our environmental impact when a new Wahaca springs up.
We like to test ourselves when we build by completing “Ska Retail” environmental assessments at each of our new restaurants. By using SKA we ensure our restaurants are as sustainable during the construction phase, and when they’re up and running.
SKA provides us with a framework where we are able to identify where we can reuse materials, specify materials with high recycled content, install energy efficient equipment, water efficient taps and ensure that all timber is certified as sustainable. Our St. Paul’s restaurant was the first to have been awarded a Gold SKA Rating.
Find out more about the SKA Rating here at www.rics.org/uk/knowledge/ska-rating-/benefits-of-ska
Our 2014 Targets
- Every new restaurant will be awarded a SKA Gold rating
- Reduce total water consumption by 5% from 2013 levels
- Reduce total energy consumption by 5%
- Reduce total carbon emissions by 10%
As a restaurant group, we’re aware that we need to use a fair amount of power to operate, but we try our best to reduce this wherever we can. For our newer restaurants we use state of the art equipment to reduce power consumption; the heat generated from our fridges and freezers, for example, is reused to heat the hot water – this means that we don’t have to burn additional gas.
We have chosen a London based company to provide us with cooking oil for all our new restaurants; not only does this reduce our carbon footprint, but the used oil is taken away and processed into biofuel to power cars and taxis in South London.
All of our waste, including food waste, is diverted from landfill. Where we have control of the waste collection contract, we go the extra mile to appoint the most sustainable waste collector available. Food waste is converted into biogas and liquid fertiliser: the biogas is used to produce clean renewable electricity and the fertiliser is spread onto farmland.
We pride ourselves on having excellent recycling rates; we work with the Government’s Waste Resource Action Programme (WRAP) to constantly improve the amount we recycle.
Wahaca was the first own branded restaurant group to sign up to WRAP’s Hospitality and Food Service Agreement (HaFSA), where all our recycling information is passed to WRAP to help the Government minimise waste across the hospitality sector.
None of this would be possible without our amazing people who are at the heart of our business. We have developed a ‘Green Wahaco Charter’ which brings our staff together not just to provide excellent service for our customers, but also to care for the environment we work in. We have found this has the added benefit of increasing communication across restaurants, and provides a channel for sharing ideas on how we could work even better together.