In Pursuit of a Climate Positive Restaurant
June 7, 2020, 10:32 a.m.
It's pretty well understood that if we’re going to keep global warming under two degrees, we need to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industrial practices while simultaneously removing some of the CO2 we’ve already emitted. The sad reality is that we're nowhere close to reducing emissions enough to keep global temperatures under 2 degrees C. In response to this new reality, many companies have recently implemented audacious climate neutral plans to limit their impact on the plant. While I highly applaud this movement, becoming climate neutral is not enough. To do my part in achieving the deep decarbonization needed, I'm starting small and exploring how to make one single restaurant climate positive. To be climate positive, I'm looking into three main areas that have helped others, such as [Max Burgers](https://www.maxburgers.com/ "Max Burgers") achieve this goal. The three areas are: **1. Measure 100% of the embedded life-cycle emissions of the product.** > Measure, monitor, and calculate all greenhouse gas emissions-- from the farmers’ land to the guests’ hands. To account for the total embedded life-cycle emissions of the product, meaning Scope 1, 2, & 3 emissions, this should include production, shipping, overhead, travel to and from the restaurant, waste, and additional associated aspects. > To ensure a restuarant is utilizing the appropriate accounting methodology, I'm exploring [ISO 14021](https://www.iso.org/standard/66652.html "ISO 14021"), which serves as a comprehensive standard to employ for a typical restaurant operation, and is also one of the standards the [Greenhouse Gas Protocol](https://ghgprotocol.org/product-standard "Greenhouse Gas Protocol") uses to understand the full life cycle emissions of a product. ------------ **2. Reduce emissions where possible, verifiably offset the remainder.** > Implement measures to reduce emissions where possible, continuously looking for improvements. When I identify areas where I cannot reduce emissions, I plan to offset them by directly funding local verified sustainable development projects. It's very simple to do so through the [UNFCCC Carbon Offset platform](https://offset.climateneutralnow.org/allprojects "UNFCCC Carbon Offset platform"), or by working with projects in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint-Implementation (JI) registries. > Here are a few resources that I'm actively exploring: - [CDM Pipeline](https://www.cdmpipeline.org/ "CDM Pipeline") - [CDM Registry Project Search](https://cdm.unfccc.int/Projects/projsearch.html "CDM Registry Project Search") - [IGES CDM Project Database](https://www.iges.or.jp/en/pub/iges-cdm-project-database/en "IGES CDM Project Database") ------------ **3. Do More. Capture at least 110% of emissions** > Directly fund local verified projects. Plant trees that absorb and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow. Help protect and restore coral reefs and marine habitats. Invest in educational opportunities for the local community. > Not only can we offset all the emissions from our food, but we can also go further to capture the carbon dioxide equivalent of an additional 10, 20, 30% of our emissions. This is what it means to be Climate Positive - by doing more to help reduce the overall levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. ------------ These are my quick initial thoughts on how a restaurant can calculate and offset the emissions of their customer's meals. I warmly welcome any additional thoughts/criticism.
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