We are committed to operating ethically and sustainably and to finding ways, over time, 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.
The company is committed to achieving net-zero emissions in the UK and Ireland by 2050 and will, if possible, reach this goal sooner.
We are developing a road map for getting there. The company is working with an organisation called Carbon Intelligence and, in January 2023, committed to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)2 for all pub operations and the global supply chain, in line with avoiding the worst effects of climate change. Agreeing on science-based targets will ensure that the company follows a credible and scientifically verified carbon-reduction pathway.
As part of the plan, we will work with our suppliers, building designers, equipment providers, employees and other business partners to minimise any impact.
In addition, the company is a member of the Zero Carbon Forum, a non-profit-making organisation supporting the hospitality industry to comply with government reporting requirements and implement a roadmap to net-zero carbon emissions.
Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) – using national grid averages
• Scope 1 – direct emissions
• Scope 2 – indirect emissions
2The SBTi is a partnership among the Climate Disclosure Project, the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature to drive ambitious climate action. It enables companies to set science-based emissions reduction targets.
• 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 July 2022, to align with the period under which carbon emissions are reported.
• Refrigerant emissions from our pubs are not reported, as these are considered immaterial.
Wetherspoon has been recognised for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. It has been listed in the 2022 FT-Statista Europe’s Climate Leaders list, highlighting companies which, over a five-year period, have achieved the greatest reduction in emissions.
A spokesman for Europe’s Climate Leaders 2022 special report said: “Congratulations to Wetherspoon. This is a data-driven initiative, in which Statista and the FT evaluated the reduction in carbon emissions intensity of thousands of major companies across Europe. Wetherspoon stood out in the process.”3
3Article in Wetherspoon News: autumn 2022
Reducing carbon emissions – Scope 1 and scope 2
Scope 1 – direct emissions from controlled sources, eg company vehicles
Scope 2 – indirect emissions from purchased sources, eg electricity
Overall, the company has achieved a reduction of 49.5% in scope 1 and scope 2 emissions since financial year 2014.
The company is focusing on three main areas to achieve further reductions, along with the added incentive of reducing the impact of any future energy price fluctuations:
• Reducing energy consumption
• Improving energy-efficiency
• Use of renewable energy
Reducing energy consumption
Our target is to reduce annual electricity, gas and water consumption through a combination of operational initiatives and the introduction energy-efficient technology. This approach will also reduce carbon emissions.
The company has an energy and environment group, chaired by finance director Ben Whitley. Each pub has an energy, environment and recycling champion, responsible for reducing consumption at his or her pub and communicating top tips and initiatives to staff.
These energy champions help to encourage changes in behaviour, like using fire-up/power-down guides to ensure that pubs are efficient and minimise energy consumption when we’re closed.
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.
Several pieces of energy-saving technology are now installed as standard in any new pubs and, over the following years, will be retro-fitted in pubs across the estate. These include:
• free-air cellar-cooling systems (cools the cellar by bringing in outside air, when external temperatures are low enough).
• sensor lighting.
• LED lighting, using 50% less energy, on average.
• Lossnay heat-recovery systems (extraction system which recovers heat energy from the building, then uses it to warm up the incoming fresh air).
Cheetah extraction management systems are installed in about 80% of pubs to control kitchens’ ventilation. Smart electricity meters have been fitted in around 92% of pubs and are being installed, where possible, in those remaining. Gas AMRs4 are installed in around 85% of pubs.
The company consistently trials new ideas and energy-saving technology to reduce consumption and CO2 emissions, including the following:
• solar panels
• rainwater-harvesting systems
• ground-source-heat pumps
• adiabatic cooling systems
• wind turbines
• light tubes
• building energy management system (BMS)
4Automated meter-readers (AMRs) record gas consumption data remotely, in a similar way to smart electricity meters.
Use of renewable energy
With effect from October 2022, electricity supplied to pubs in the UK and head office5 will have been generated from 100% renewable sources. Pubs and hotels in Ireland are currently on a different contract which will be considered when it is available to renew.
Reducing carbon emissions – scope 3
Scope 3 is the largest contributor to the company’s overall emissions, representing an estimated 89% of our total output; however, measuring carbon emissions in our supply chain is complex.
As are starting point, we are allocating carbon emissions for every product which we sell, including food, drinks and hotel rooms. Where detailed data is not currently available, we are making assumptions based on industry averages. Over time, this data quality will improve.
Reducing our scope 3 emissions will rely, ultimately, on a partnership approach with our UK and worldwide suppliers and on their plans to reduce carbon emissions.
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.
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 via reduced road miles.
During the financial year 2021/22, the pubs sent 10,680 tonnes of waste to the recycling centre, an increase of 4,722 tonnes, or 79%, on the previous year.
Used and returned 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.
5A few UK pubs, where electricity is supplied by the landlord, are excluded.
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 requiring less water to flush.
We are trialling data management systems which help to pinpoint unexpected changes in water consumption – which may indicate a change in behaviour or a supply leak.
Reducing food waste
Several initiatives have been implemented to reduce food wastage, including preparation waste and 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/or others in need.
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
Plastics can have a place. They can protect products from damage or contamination, increase food shelf life and, since they are usually lightweight, create lower transport emissions than heavier materials. Our approach focuses on two areas:
• Removing unnecessary single-use plastics which can be avoided
• Waste management of plastics – aim for 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable
To date, the following steps have been taken to reduce single-use plastics’ use:
• Plastic straws – 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 given 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 the Waste & Resources Action Programme (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. Coloured lids have been replaced with clear recyclable lids. 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 in 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 site waste disposal.