The organisation worked with retail landlord Hammerson to create the ‘Sustainable Champion’ rating of up to three stars, which are awarded for the areas of sourcing, environment and society.
The ‘first initiative of its kind in the world' will now be rolled out to a variety of destinations including shopping centres, airports, stadiums and stations as retailers and restaurants increasingly seek to demonstrate their approach to responsible business.
Hammerson’s WestQuay shopping centre in Southampton is the first location to achieve the new Sustainable Restaurant Association Food Destination rating, which now allows its 17 million annual shoppers to choose from a range of restaurants which are signed up to sourcing ingredients more responsibly and managing food, water and energy and waste more efficiently.
“By making WestQuay the first Food Destination rated for its sustainability, Hammerson has demonstrated great market leadership and forward thinking,” said the SRA’s managing director Mark Linehan.
“It also shows that the company is responding to consumer demand by requiring operators to not only act responsibly, but to communicate their sustainable behaviour. We are really looking forward to working closely with them and their tenants at WestQuay and at other sites across the UK.”
WestQuay has achieved Three Star Sustainability Champion Status - the highest possible rating - and the SRA commended the shopping centre for its collaborative recycling initiatives with the restaurants and its ambitious targets to recycle food waste.
Peter Cooper, Hammerson’s retail portfolio director, added: “This is a great initiative that will have tangible benefits for us as a landlord and for our restaurateurs. Not only does it provide us and our restaurants with constant areas of improvement, it also gives our consumers a meaningful benchmark when it comes to dining, and a better understanding of the quality of the product.
“We believe this initiative will help drive sales over the longer term as the provenance and behavior of brands is becoming increasingly more important for consumers.”
Hammerson is now starting the rating process at Bullring in Birmingham, The Oracle in Reading and Union Square in Aberdeen, alongside its staff restaurant in London.Meanwhile, Mexican restaurant Tortilla is now undertaking the ratings process across its 11 restaurants nationally, with founder Brandon Stephens keen to emphasise the importance of sustainability in the restaurant sector.
“We’re thrilled to become a member of the SRA,” said Stephens. “Our focus from inception has been to source only the highest provenance meats and best quality ingredients, with daily deliveries to support our ‘Top Ten Tortilla Truths’ commitment to our customers.”
How restaurants are rated
Three-Star Sustainability Champions – These restaurants have demonstrated exceptional all round sustainability, scoring consistently well across every category totalling at least 70 per cent.
Two-Star Sustainability Champions – These restaurants have demonstrated excellent all round sustainability, scoring at least 60 per cent.
One-Star Sustainability Champions – These restaurants have demonstrated good all round sustainability, scoring at least 50 per cent.
At The World's 50 Best Restaurants Awardsearlier this year, the SRA launched a global rating scheme for restaurants,ranking all 50 restaurants on the 50 Best list against its criteria. Japanese restaurant Narisawa was the winner of the first Sustainable Restaurant Award.