The popular UK-based pizzeria chain and supplier of “pizza in the post” – Pizza Pilgrims – has shown a consistent commitment to sustainability and curbing its impact over the years. Now, operating a multitude of restaurants across several major cities – one of which is a “future-facing, sustainability-focused pizzeria” inside London’s Selfridges – the restaurant has become the newest member to join the Zero Carbon Forum.
Comprised of restaurants, pubs, hotels and others within the hospitality industry, the Zero Carbon Forum is a non-profit organisation helping its members to reach sustainability targets and accelerate towards net zero.
Through its various action groups that focus on different areas – e.g., low carbon technology and equipment; tenants and franchises; dairy; regenerative agriculture; and engaging suppliers to help reduce scope three emissions – the forum is driving decarbonisation of the sector by helping hospitality and brewing businesses to take meaningful action and align with net zero roadmaps.
“We’ll serve while saving the planet with a smile,” says Zero Carbon Forum in a YouTube video explaining the organisation.
In joining the forum, Pizza Pilgrims aims to accelerate towards net zero, share its sustainability insights with the sector, and work with other pizza restaurants to tackle the environmental impact of dairy production.
“Together we’re making progress to a net zero future one pizza slice at a time,” wrote Zero Carbon Forum on Twitter.
Hospitality and the planet
When evaluating the sustainability of a restaurant, there are a multitude of factors beyond just the food that’s being served to be taken into consideration.
For example, some of the factors that can contribute to an outlet’s impact include its operations (e.g., water and energy consumption), its supply chain (e.g., scope three emissions from production and transport) and any packaging used/discarded (e.g., single use plastics) – among many others.
When it comes to the food on menus, different ingredients have different impacts.
Some of the toppings often featured on pizza – e.g., dairy and meat – can contribute significantly to carbon footprint. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) states that “the livestock sector is responsible for 14.5% of all anthropogenic GHG emissions (7.1 gigatonnes of Co2-equivalent per year), with beef and dairy production being the main contributors.”
Food waste is also an issue, as the UN states that: “globally, around 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail, while an estimated 17 percent of total global food production is wasted (11 percent in households, 5 percent in the food service and 2 percent in retail).”
What’s more, food in landfill is responsible for 8-10% of global emissions.
That’s why the work of organisations like the Zero Carbon Forum – as well as the many other organisations and restaurants driving change across the UK, Europe and rest of the world – is so important.
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“We are delighted to welcome Pizza Pilgrims to the forum,” said the Founder and CEO of the Zero Carbon Forum, Mark Chapman, adding:
“We look forward to working with Thom and the Pizza Pilgrims team through our many initiatives such as our Dairy Action Group, as well as sharing the learnings of the many initiatives they’ve already implemented. This growing collaboration of the pizza operators will accelerate the changes we need in our supply chain to both reduce emissions and build resilience as we head towards net zero, at pace.”
Sustainability at Pizza Pilgrims
“At Pizza Pilgrims it has always been important to us to run the business the ‘right’ way – looking after our people and our community in a genuine and authentic way,” says Thom Elliot, co-founder of Pizza Pilgrims.
“A huge part of this mission is to help protect the planet,” Elliot says.
As part of this mission, Pizza Pilgrims has embarked on several sustainability initiatives aimed at reducing its impact.
Now working towards B Corp certification, Pizza Pilgrims recently launched “Planet Pilgrims,” a sustainability initiative which focuses on developing green innovation such as making it’s packaging more eco-friendly.
What’s more, since 2021, Pizza Pilgrims has been running a “Pizzeria of the Future” inside Selfridges on Oxford Street in London. The 108-cover restaurant is described as a “hub for innovation” and operates sustainably from many angles – here’s a few examples.
In terms of the food and drink, some examples include:
- Their craft beer bar is “London’s first zero single use packaging beer bar” where drinks are served from reusable kegs in collaboration with Gipsy Hill Brewing Co.
- The drinks list features sustainably farmed, produced, transported and stored wines.
- They only use hydroponically-grown basil (in collaboration with Harvest London, which supplies basil to all Pizza Pilgrims pizzerias) saving 350,000 food miles annually.
- They use Wildfarmed regenerative flour, grown prioritising biodiversity and soil health.
- They use British charcuterie from London’s Cobble Lane Cured Farm.
- Their “crust dippers” are made by Rubies in the Rubble using aquafaba (a byproduct of chickpea production) providing a vegan egg alternative and fighting food waste.
- Their mozzarella is sourced from London-based traditional Italian cheesemakers, using no single use plastic and with a low carbon footprint.
- They also offer vegan mozzarella, pesto, nduja, ice-cream and wine alternatives.
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And as for the pizzeria and its furniture, some examples include:
- The upholstery is made from “Pinatex” – a pineapple leather alternative.
- The table tops are formed from plastic bottle waste.
- The pizzeria was built using responsibly harvested, FSC sustainable timber.
- There’s a mural of the Bay of Naples made from 2,000 recycled glass bottles.
- The staff wear sustainably- and ethically-made t-shirts, produced using renewable energy.
“Joining the Zero Carbon Forum will help Pizza Pilgrims unlock the knowledge and expertise that comes with collaboration, helping us and others along the way,” stated Pizza Pilgrims co-founder, Thom Elliot, adding:
“Net zero is a not just a target for us, it helps us drive innovation and take our partners on a collective journey. We are excited to see what we can achieve, and we have already made real progress with our sustainable-driven pizzeria in Selfridges and our soon-to-launch new sustainable menu.”
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: Homemade Italian Pizza Margherita with Buffalo Mozzarella and Basil. Featured Photo Credit: Marco Breier