Tue, 07/28/2009 - 13:26 — admin
A ‘Green’ Restaurant Identity
In today’s economic climate, owners of restaurants are relying on every competitive advantage in order to stay ahead. Many restaurateurs are becoming more profitable by adopting environmental practices and are utilizing the resources of the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) to meet these ends.
In contrast to the perception that the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® is the legal and only benchmark of sustainability, there are other reputable standards developed by other organizations such as the GRA.
Through the GRA, headquartered in Boston, MA, restaurants can become Certified Green Restaurants®.
Readers, even if a restaurateur exceeds the standards of the GRA’s certification, those owners still need to purchase GRA certification to be categorized and marketed as a Certified Green Restaurant®. Please e-mail us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While headquartered in Boston, MA, the GRA extends its green consulting resources in 35 states. In separate interviews with owners of Certified Green Restaurants, individuals expressed the following sentiment:
- Jim Solomon, Owner/Chef, The Fireplace Restaurant, Brookline, MA
We use products endorsed by the GRA including one produced by Earth Alive that cleans everything from floors to silverware and even eats leftover grease (in drains) that prevents the build-up of fruit flies. It is OSHA friendly and when I was done using it, I blew it into my mouth to show the staff how safe it is.”
Jeremy Barlow, Owner/Chef, Tayst, Nashville, TN
-Nic Jammet, Co-Owner, Sweetgreen, multiple locations in the Washington D.C. area, “For us (Nic Jammet and his partners), we opened the first (of three) Sweetgreen at the end of our senior year at Georgetown University. We are young owners and want to build a strong brand. The greening of our restaurant has become more appropriate in D.C., especially since Obama has taken office. We are the first 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant® in the US.”
Like The Fireplace Restaurant, Tayst, and Sweetgreen, Rouge Tomate (located in Belgium and now New York City), is a Certified Green Restaurant as well as a LEED certified space that values the role of sustainability as a cornerstone to the dining experience and to the restaurant’s brand identity.
Shawmut Design & Construction was the builder of Rouge Tomate (NYC).
Despite the GRA’s growing popularity and credibility, not all restaurants that display significant ‘green’ elements are Certified Green Restaurants.
One such dining hot-spot is Uncommon Ground, located in Chicago. Uncommon Ground is home to the first Certified Organic Roof Top Farm in the nation. This certification was delivered by the Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA).
This year, Uncommon Ground plans to grow over 1000 lbs of fresh vegetables (to be served internally) on its roof. Uncommon Ground’s co-owner Helen Cameron told Green Space Today, “We want to prove that it is possible to grow a lot of vegetables in an urban setting and we are using the farm as an educational tool for students and customers alike.”
Michael Cameron, Co-Owner, Uncommon Ground added, “While we are not members of the GRA, we are members of the Chicago Green Restaurant Coop. Uncommon Ground is not LEED certified, but the U.S. Green Building Council’s Chicago Chapter recognized us with its EnvironMOTION” Award.”
Although the restaurant industry has been hit hard by rising energy and food costs, owners are investing in ‘green’ to make ‘green’ and to make environmental strides and are doing so through organizational resources and associative marketing.