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Vegan restaurant Stem & Glory makes carbon negative pledge

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Award-winning plant-based restaurant Stem & Glory has become the first Cambridge restaurant to commit to being carbon negative by the end of the year.

Louise Palmer-Masterton. Picture: Keith Heppell
Louise Palmer-Masterton. Picture: Keith Heppell

The pledge from the award-winning vegan diner follows participation in the London Mayor’s Better Futures+ programme, which is funded by the mayor’s office to assist businesses in getting to net zero by 2030. Stem & Glory “decided more urgent action is needed, and brought forward its pledge to the end of 2021”.

The Better Futures+ Programme was delivered by West London Business, working with experts from the Sustainable Restaurant Association, Think Hospitality and Climate Essentials. The eaterie – which has premises on Station Road and London Barts Square – said in a statement: “Using this support and combined with carbon labelling experts Foodsteps, Stem & Glory has taken a deep dive into its emissions across the entire business, from procurement to restaurant fit out and have set targets weekly, monthly and annually in terms of reduction and offset.”

As a plant-based brand already using 100 per cent renewable energy, Stem & Glory is operating at less than 20 per cent lower emissions than the average restaurant, and less than 23 per cent of the average SME, but the programme highlighted where significant reductions can be made.

Station Road setting for Stem & Glory in Cambridge
Station Road setting for Stem & Glory in Cambridge

Stem & Glory founder Louise Palmer-Masterton said: “One of the simplest and most significant actions restaurants – or any business or family – can take to lower their carbon emissions is to move their electricity supply to a 100 per cent renewable tariff, and stop cooking on gas.

“The second is, of course, reduction in the consumption of animal products across the board. With beef and lamb products producing more than 30 times the emissions per kg as plant-based protein, and dairy more than seven times the emissions of plant-milks we all need to be serious about how we feed ourselves sustainably for the sake of future generations.

“At Stem & Glory, we intend to completely decarbonise eating out, so our customers know their dining choices are sustainable ones, and we urge restaurants everywhere to join us on this journey.”

Stem & Glory has already delivered initiatives rarely achieved by others. These include the use of contemporary furniture made from recycled post-consumer waste and repurposed products. From October, Stem & Glory will remove single-use coffee cups completely in favour of reusable cups, with reusable lunch boxes to follow. The brand is working with partners on coffee cup and lunch box swap schemes. What emissions remain after the reduction strategies will be offset via accredited UK and global partners, aiming to over-offset and be carbon negative by the end of 2021.

The Stem & Glory at CB1 near the station
The Stem & Glory at CB1 near the station

Future strategies include carbon labelling on all menus via a partnership with Foodsteps to also allow customers to offset the emissions of their meal via an optional levy.

“The process of completing the Better Futures+ Programme has been extremely enlightening on many levels. We have been bowled over by the support and encouragement we have received from starting the conversation with our customers, suppliers and partners about reducing our joint carbon emissions,” said Palmer-Masterton. “We are very much looking forward to a better and more sustainable future.”

Independent diner Jikoni in London is already carbon-neutral, and national chain Nandos has committed to carbon neutrality by the end of November.

Meanwhile, Louise is able to help other restaurants reach their decarbonisation targets.

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