Last year we decided to measure the carbon footprint of our fast food heroes, our Better Burgers and Waffle Fries. At LEON we spend nearly 75% of our purchasing budget in the UK and so a majority of our burger ingredients are from this country and our fries arrive by boat from the Netherlands. These sourcing methods mean we have avoided transport-related carbon emissions where possible.
We changed our energy supplier in October of last year and Ecotricity now supply our restaurants with 100% green UK electricity, which also contributes to our menu items having a lower carbon footprint.
For the new menu we are serving a new recipe patty from Meatless Farm in the LOVe burger which is made of pea protein, an ingredient that has a lower impact than soy alternatives. None of our burgers are made with higher carbon meats such as beef.
We have worked with ClimatePartner to do the measurement work, a solution provider for climate action who combine tailored consulting services with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for company and product carbon footprints.
ClimatePartner has also helped us select projects to offset with, which are aligned with our values and long-term commitments.
How have we done it?
ClimatePartner have measured the carbon footprint of each menu item according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard (GHG Protocol).
The CO2 emissions have been considered all along the supply chain starting with the suppliers (for both packaging and burger ingredients) all the way to the restaurant kitchens and including the end-of-life phase (cradle-to-customer + waste approach). Although often referred to as simply CO2, the carbon footprint values represent the emissions of all six greenhouse gases defined by the Kyoto protocol and expressed as CO2 equivalents.
Data required to assess the quantity of the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere through different processes and activities was obtained from scientific databases and research papers.
The footprint of our Better Burgers & Baked Fries.
How do we offset the carbon footprint of the burgers and fries we sell:
For every burger and portion of fries sold, LEON will purchase carbon credits to offset their footprint. We have chosen three projects, one which protects the primary Amazonian rainforest in Peru and so the role they play in absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and providing habitats for many wildlife species, a second which is removing carbon from the atmosphere by planting a native-species of giant clumping bamboo in Nicargua and a third which is a progressive UK native woodland project.
Making our best-selling menu items carbon neutral is an important step in a broader climate action strategy. We are ultimately looking to become Net Zero at LEON and will be developing a roadmap this year, based on science, to ensure we achieve this goal by 2030.
As part of the footprint work ClimatePartner also gave us recommendations for how we can reduce our carbon emissions further. We are working with our suppliers to explore these options, we held our first Supplier Sustainability Forum last year in October and are planning for our next one, as despite the challenges we and our whole industry face as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic we are determined to pursue progress and find ways to be kinder to the planet.
We founded LEON to make it easier for people to eat well, live well and be kind to the planet. Last year we signed up to the Council for Sustainable Business 14 commitments , which are divided between the measurement & reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and increased support for biodiversity, leading to net gain biodiversity across the country. These commitments are now ensuring we take all the actions we can to be kinder to the planet and achieve Net Zero by 2030, so there is work to be done now and for the longer term.
Some extra notes
Sustainability remains at the heart of the LEON business and that’s why we’ve committed to be Net Zero by 2030. We’re cutting the emissions in our restaurants by using 100% renewable power and switching from gas to electric cooking. Of the 13 burgers we’ve had on our menu this year 6 have been vegan, giving our customers a wide range of naturally lower carbon products to choose from. Carbon offsetting forms just one part of our strategy to tackle the emissions we can’t currently avoid and the Madre de Dios Project is one of many projects we support. It has been independently certified by Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and CCBS Gold Level (Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard) globally recognised certification standards.