You don't need to give us a reason to tuck into Wahaca's MSC-certified Bajan fish tacos or its pea and mint empanadas, but if you did, this would do it: it's become the first restaurant group in the UK to achieve a net zero-carbon footprint in accordance with CarbonNeutral Protocol.
Each of its 23 locations has as low an environmental impact as possible, whether it's using hot air from the fridges and freezers to heat the water in the taps or using only sustainable building materials.
The restaurant group has reduced the average total energy consumption of sites established after 2013 by 36%, and has upgraded systems and appliances at its older sites to reduce consumption by 15% – and these are just a handful of the measures Wahaca has undertaken to reduce its company emissions to zero.
Co-founders Thomasina Miers and Mark Selby have been sustainability-focused since the restaurant's outset. "When we opened, I talked to Sustain [the environmental NGO] and it put me in touch with lots of local producers," says Miers. "As we've grown, and some of the small producers have been unable to cope with the quantities of food we've been able to buy, we've developed in other ways. We were one of the first restaurants in London to have the MSC label on our menus." When it opened, the restaurant road-tested glass crushers to recycle its glassware more easily, and it has always recycled all its food waste.
Wahaca's food – in pictures
Miers, who has also been involved in campaigns such as The Pig Idea, which fed 5,000 people in Trafalgar Square on pigs reared with permissible food waste, said, "I think you can make more change by showing you're a working, surviving sustainable business than if you're just telling people to be green. We see it as a challenge."