Starting over again

When you run a restaurant, your carbon footprint’s bigger than the average boot. When you run 40+ restaurants, that carbon footprint weighs pretty heavy on the world (and your conscience).

We wanted to do something about the mark Honest leaves on the planet. The easiest option would be to offset our carbon. It works like an equation: we’d work out how much carbon we use, then we’d pay £x amount to fund projects – like tree planting and renewable energy schemes – that would remove the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere. This would balance out the carbon we use and we could proudly declare we’re ‘carbon neutral’.

Phil, Tom & Farmers at the Farm.

This is better than nothing, of course. But it’s an ‘as you were’ answer. It wouldn’t fundamentally change how we work or how much carbon we use, we’d just pay for it to go away.

It didn’t sound like the most Honest answer to us. So we did some more digging. And we realised the only way we can genuinely do something about our carbon footprint is by fixing the stuff that guzzles the most carbon in the day-to-day business of running our restaurants.

For us, that’s meat.

Cows doing what they do best.

Doing more homework, Tom, one of our founders, ended up at a conference in London where he heard a farmer from GrassRoots Farming talk about how a small group of like-minded people were completely changing the way they farmed.

They were swapping intensive, industrialised farming, which put quantity before anything else, for a different way of doing things. That meant following nature’s lead, respecting the land and the animals on it, and going back to old ways of farming, which put the farmers in the centre – not at the bottom – of the food chain.

Everything starts with the soul and ends with the soil.

They called it ‘regenerative farming’. And Honest wanted in.

But it’s not as easy as paying to offset our carbon or joining a sustainable restaurant scheme and making a few tweaks to our menu. It means a totally different way of farming and a new way of working with farmers and the cows they rear.

It means changing everything about how your burger makes it to your plate, from the ground up. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.