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Sweetgreen plans to reduce its carbon emissions by half over the next six years.

Sweetgreen pledges to go carbon neutral by 2027

The Washington, D.C.-based fast-casual restaurant chain is cutting down on emissions through sustainable sourcing and constructing green restaurants

Washington, D.C.-based fast-casual restaurant chain Sweetgreen announced Wednesday that they have pledged to go carbon neutral by 2027. The 109-location salad company is working with Watershed – a software platform that helps businesses reduce their carbon footprint — to cut its carbon emissions in half over the next six years through sustainable sourcing, plant-forward menu makeovers, investing in clean energy, and building restaurants with eco-friendly materials.

“Simply put, we believe it’s the right thing to do for our business and for the planet. With the food system driving 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the time for change is now,” said Nicolas Jammet, co-founder and chief concept officer of Sweetgreen, in a statement. “We know that real change doesn’t happen overnight — it’s all the steps in between, the little moments that can lead to a big impact. That’s why we’re making this commitment.” 

One of the aspects of Sweetgreen’s plan in collaboration with Watershed is analyzing the sustainability practices of suppliers they use to create a carbon footprint number for each of their menu items. With the data, Sweetgreen will be able to guide their future sourcing decisions. Panera Bread announced a similar initiative to add carbon footprint impact labels to their menu in October 2020.

Sweetgreen will also be taking a look at their menu to offer more green-friendly plant-forward options and “soil-friendly ingredients” like regenerative kelp and the cover crop sorghum, which is traditionally used to process alcoholic ingredients, though not used as often for consumption. They will also be working with cheese and meat suppliers to implement carbon minimalization strategies.

“Sweetgreen’s menu is already 30% less carbon intensive than the average U.S. diet, and their commitment to decrease their greenhouse gas intensity by 50% and become carbon neutral is setting a new bar for the industry,” Taylor Francis, co-founder of Watershed, said in a statement.

Another piece of the eco-friendly puzzle will be the construction of future of Sweetgreen restaurants. The company is assessing its entire development line to put practices into place for optimizing eco-friendly construction materials, investing in clean energy and rethinking how they approach refrigeration and equipment.

Nation’s Restaurant News contacted Sweetgreen for more details on their climate-friendly pledge, but the company did not respond in time for publication.

Contact Joanna at [email protected]

Find her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi

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