We are committed to operating ethically and sustainably and to finding ways to reduce our carbon emissions.
We promote recycling throughout the business and try to reduce energy consumption.
It is the company’s aim to:
• increasingly minimise our environmental impact and reduce our carbon emissions.
• minimise energy consumption and maximise efficiency.
• promote efficient purchasing to minimise waste and allow for material-recycling.
• adopt efficient waste-management strategies and stop waste from being sent to landfill.
• minimise any emissions or effluents which may cause environmental damage.
The company works with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), a not-for-profit membership organisation, based in the United Kingdom, which helps food-service businesses to work towards sustainability in their sector and guides customers towards more sustainable choices.
All members have a sustainability rating across three areas: sourcing, society and sustainability. The overall rating ranges from no stars (lowest) to three stars (highest). The company is currently rated at two stars.
Reducing carbon emissions
There are three types of emission:
Scope 1 – direct emissions from controlled sources, eg company vehicles
Scope 2 – indirect emissions from purchased sources, eg electricity
Scope 3 – emissions which occur in the process of running the company,
eg the purchase, distribution and sale of food and drinks; employees’ travel; waste disposal
Scope 3 is the largest contributor to the company’s overall emissions, representing an estimated
65–70% of total output.
The company is a member of the Zero Carbon Forum, a non-profit-making organisation which is supporting the hospitality industry to comply with government reporting requirements and implement a roadmap to net-zero carbon emissions.
In addition, the company is working with a company called Carbon Intelligence to measure current carbon emissions across scopes 1, 2 and 3, agree on science-based targets1 , an action plan and a realistic timescale to reach net-zero carbon emissions.
Reducing energy consumption
Our target is to reduce annual electricity, gas and water consumption through a combination of operational initiatives and the introduction of energy-efficient technology. This approach will also reduce carbon emissions.
1Science-based targets are developed and verified in conjunction with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), a partnership among CDP, the United Nations Global Compact and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
The company has an energy and environment group, chaired by two board directors. Each pub has an energy champion, responsible for reducing consumption at his or her pub and communicating top tips and initiatives to staff.
Each pub receives a monthly report, detailing the amount of electricity and gas consumed and including tips on how this can be reduced.
Employees receive training in this area, along with an energy guide which provides employees, among other things, with information about when equipment should be turned on/off.
Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) – using national grid averages
• Scope 1 – direct emissions
• Scope 2 – indirect emissions
• Conversion factors for electricity and gas are those published by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
• Reported data is in respect of the year ended 31 March 2021, to align with the period under which carbon emissions are reported.
• Scope 1 emissions result from the combustion of gas; scope 2 emissions result from the purchase of electricity.
• Refrigerant emissions from our pubs are not reported, as they are considered immaterial.
Cheetah extraction management systems are installed in all pubs to control kitchens’ ventilation.
Smart electricity meters have been fitted in around 80% of pubs and are being rolled out to the remaining ones. Gas AMRs2 are installed in around 75% of pubs.
Several pieces of energy-saving technology are now installed as standard in any new pubs and, over the next few years, will be retro-fitted in current pubs across the estate. These include:
• free-air cellar-cooling systems (these cool the cellar by bringing in outside air, when the external temperatures are low enough).
• sensor lighting.
• LED lighting, using 50% less energy, on average.
• Lossnay heat-recovery systems (extraction systems which recover heat energy from the building, then use it to warm up the incoming fresh air).
The company consistently trials new ideas and energy-saving technology to reduce consumption and CO2 emissions; these have included:
• solar panels
• rainwater-harvesting systems
• ground-source-heat pumps
• adiabatic cooling systems
• wind turbines
• light tubes
• building energy management system (BMS)
Use of renewable energy
With effect from October 2022, all electricity supplied to pubs in the UK and head office will have been generated from 100% renewable sources.
Climate change policy
The company will set science-based targets and agree on an action plan and realistic timescale to remove, where possible, greenhouse gas emissions from its operations and supply chain.
Any residual emissions will be offset by investment in high-quality carbon credits.
To support implementation of this policy, the company is working with a company called Carbon Intelligence and expects to publish an initial plan in spring 2022.
Pollution and waste
Reducing, reusing, recycling and waste management
As a business, we aim to minimise waste and maximise recycling. Our target is to recycle 95% of recyclable waste.
The pubs and head office segregate waste into a minimum of seven streams: glass, tin/cans, cooking oil, paper/cardboard, plastic, lightbulbs and general waste.
2Gas automated meter readers (AMRs) record gas consumption data remotely, in a similar way to smart electricity meters.
In addition, food waste is also separated and sent for anaerobic digestion.
Draught beer and ale are supplied to pubs in barrels which are returned to the brewery for cleaning and reuse. Draught cider, wine and some soft drinks are supplied in a ‘bag in a box’. After the contents have been dispensed, the plastic bag and cardboard box can be separated and sent for separate recycling.
Any remaining non-recyclable waste is sent to waste-to-energy power plants which reduce CO2 and the use of fossil fuels.
Wetherspoon has a national distribution centre for food, some bottled drinks and non-consumable products. It also includes a recycling centre. When making deliveries to pubs, lorries collect mixed recycling, used cooking oil, textiles and aluminium for return to the recycling centre – so reducing the company’s carbon footprint from reduced road miles.
During the financial year 2020/21, the pubs sent 5,958 tonnes of waste to the recycling centre, a decrease of 2,334 tonnes (28% decrease) on the previous year.
Cooking oil is converted to biodiesel for agricultural use.
The volume of paper used to print menus and other marketing materials has reduced by about 35% in the last three years, partly through improved management at pub level and also changing customer habits.
Zero waste to landfill
No waste is sent to landfill.
Water usage is monitored across all pubs and head office. Where possible, we are installing low-flow or push-button taps, along with toilets which require less water to flush.
Several initiatives have been implemented to reduce this, along with reducing preparation/plate waste.
All pubs segregate food waste which is collected and sent for anaerobic digestion.
Several of our meals are available in a smaller portion size, suiting customers seeking a lighter meal.
Any unwanted, yet fit-for-consumption, food is donated to our charity partner FareShare, which distributes it to food banks, community centres and others in need.
As a result of the three national lockdowns and pub closures between March 2020 and May 2021, there was a considerable increase in unwanted food, both at the distribution centre and in pubs. Wherever possible, this was donated to charity partners, employees and the local community.
In 2018, we were awarded the ‘Waste no Food’ award from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) for our continued efforts in this area.
The company does not routinely advertise food to take away, although some customers may request to do so, either as a whole meal or as a ‘doggy bag’.
The company has set the following targets by 2025:
• 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable
• 70% of plastic packaging to be effectively recycled or composted
• 30% average recycled content across plastic packaging
• action, through redesign, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery models, to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic items
The company is taking the following steps to reduce consumption of single-use plastics:
• Plastic straws – these were removed in December 2017 and replaced with 100% biodegradable and 100% recyclable paper straws and wrappers. Customers can self-select a straw, if required, rather than automatically being providing one each time.
• Plastic water bottles – complimentary water fountains are available in all pubs. Alternatives to the current single-use plastic bottles are being reviewed.
• Plastic packaging – we are working with our major suppliers and with the support of WRAP and the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) to reduce and, where possible, remove the use of plastic packaging for food. Plastic containers used in the kitchen are now reusable – and cling film use has ceased.
• Plastic milk cartons – these are segregated and recycled separately. We are working with our dairy supplier to replace plastic milk cartons with bag-in-a-box milk, so using less plastic packaging.
• Disposable coffee cups – the majority of hot drinks sold within pubs is consumed on the premises, including unlimited complimentary refills, all served in a china mug!
Toxic emissions and waste
The company does not create any toxic emissions or waste.
Electronic waste is disposed of using specialised contractors to safely dispose of the items.
Where possible, computer equipment is sent to suppliers to refurbish and reuse.
Any disposal is compliant with the EU Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive.
On construction sites, there is a site waste management plan, managed by the main contractor and covering all waste disposal from sites.