Champions, they say, are few and far between but recently, one has been spotted in Plymouth and recognized as such by the SRA. The SRA, or the Sustainable Restaurant Association, is a not for profit organization dedicated to helping restaurants become more sustainable. The association hands out badges to members that pledge to conduct business sustainability and recognizes champions among those that go above and beyond the call of duty.

The River Cottage Canteen Plymouth has recently been awarded a three-star sustainability champion badge by the SRA and, according to the SRA website, achieved a total score of 89% with scores including 92% for sourcing, 75% for environment, and 100% for society; a result of the restaurant’s ongoing support of local charities, and involvement within the community and the local University. As a result of their high scores, River Cottage Canteen plymouth can proudly claim to be, you got it, the best in Britain.

The makings of a champion

According to the thisisplymouth website some of Canteen’s most recognizable sustainable initiatives include refusing the use of air freighted ingredients; conserving energy and water in the kitchen; maintaining a waste-free environment (enabled by recycling programs and composting); and the sourcing of high-quality local produce and meat.

“The City and Region have a strong fishing and market garden heritage, and we have a great opportunity to source the best ingredients and create some fantastic food in a wonderful location. The whole team is seriously excited,” says founder and internationally acclaimed chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, via the River Cottage website. Animal lovers (and perhaps flexitarians) will also be pleased to know that staff members from Canteen insist on visiting supplier farms and butcheries in order to ensure that a high standard of animal welfare is being properly maintained.

Photos of River Cottage Canteen & Deli, Plymouth

No guts, no glory

So, what’s next? According to The Financial, River Cottage would love to find a way to allow for honey and produce to be delivered in by sailboat. This would allow them to further decrease emissions and reduce the size of their ever-so-small carbon footprint. It is, in fact, this type of innovation that has allowed for Canteen to be recognized as the UK’s most sustainable restaurant within their first year of operations and will undoubtedly lead to more creatively sustainable practices in years to come.

Acknowledging the award, Rob Love, managing director of the River Cottage says: “We’re delighted to be recognized by the SRA as the UK’s most sustainable restaurant. When we created the Canteen in Plymouth from scratch it was our aim for it to be our most sustainable restaurant yet, and we’re delighted to have achieved this so quickly, with additional thanks to the fantastic support from the local community. We would also like to congratulate the SRA for their work in this area and their recognition of our focus on sustainability, not just on what we deliver on the plate but beyond to our employees, our approach to energy and recycling and our place in the community.”

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Image credit (in text): TripAdvisor