treading softly

'kaizen’ meaning ‘continual improvement’ is the japanese philosophy we live by. it inspires us to do better in all that we do. to make small positive choices every day for big change. we’ve been practising kaizen since 1992, when we opened as a single restaurant in london’s bloomsbury, inspired by fast-paced japanese ramen bars

nearly 30 years on, we have many things in common with our younger self. like the art of kaizen, the celebration of asian food and the obsession with fresh nourishment. but we have grown, and with that, comes a greater sense of responsibility

in 2021, we named this year, our year to take positive action. to create safe spaces for all to be welcomed to the bench. to look out for peoples mental health with our charity partners youngminds, and to do all that we can to make sustainable choices to treat our planet with respect

here, you can find actions we’re taking to tread more lightly on the earth. alongside some of the sustainability goals we’ve already met. in some areas, we’re further along our journey and closer to reaching our goals than in other areas, and by no means are we perfect. but we believe in small choices for big change. because progress takes time and begins with all of us

if you have any suggestions on how we could do better, we would really appreciate your feedback. it is deeply valued and inspires us everyday: https://www.wagamama.com/contact-us

positive eating + positive living

spreading positivity from bowl to soul is our purpose and we understand the power food has to lift spirits and nourish souls. but now, we’re told by science, what we eat is one of the most impactful choices we all have to reduce our footprint on the environment(poore + nemecek, Science Journal 2018)

eating a plant-based diet could help reduce the amount of land used for agriculture by 76%. it could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food by up to 49% (Schiermeier, eat less meat, 2019 + IPCC, Special Report on Climate Change + Land, 2019)

in 2017, we launched our vegan menu and since then, we’ve championed plant-based eating, because we believe vegan and vegetarian bowls pack just as much soul as any of their meat-containing counterparts

this year as one of our actions for positive change, we made the pledge to make 50% of our menu plant-based. meaning half of the dishes on our menu, will be made up of ingredients primarily from plants. from october, we will have met our goal early and 50% of our dishes being either vegan or vegetarian clare oxborrow, senior sustainability analyst at friends of the earth, said:

*“broadening menus so that plant-based food is the first option, or a desirable one, is a great thing to do. the more people realise that it isn’t a compromise, and that these dishes are tasty and flavour-packed, the more appetite there will be to widen menus even further.

“eating less and better dairy and meat is really important as we confront the climate and nature crises. more establishments will see that this initiative from wagamama is successful, and we encourage them to follow suit in making plant-based options both accessible and crucially, delicious.”

offering our guests choice will always be important to us and we know choosing plant-based might not be everyone’s cup of miso. so, our menu will continue to bring to the bench all protein options, alongside a selection of new vegan and vegetarian showstoppers

join our journey and make your own plant pledge for the planet : https://www.wagamama.com/plant-pledge

our plastic promise

this year, we’ve undertaken a project to improve the sustainability of our take-out packaging. our current take-out bowls have served us well and many of you tell us how much you love to reuse them as lunch-boxes or student hall cereal bowls

but single-use plastic has a detrimental effect on the environment, especially due to the varied approach waste collectors adopt to manage and dispose waste in the uk. our project has been full of learnings and we’ve worked closely with environmental bodies for guidance every step of the way

invaluable advice from WRAP + uk recycling association have lead our decision-making. particularly when carefully considering material choice. simon ellin, CEO OF uk recycling association said:

“it’s incredibly encouraging to see businesses like wagamama so conscious of the waste they contribute to, and going on to conduct thorough research to understand where it ends up

“there’s so much misinformation and false claims about where rubbish goes, so it was great to see wagamama actually took the time to get understand the problem. they have landed on a material after speaking with myself and WRAP, which I feel confident is the most sustainable option available to them at this time, and I'm happy to see they have invested in this option”.

we have taken in a wide range of factors into our sustainable solution and will be launching our new packaging in the first half of 2022

bowl bank

in meantime, we’re trialling a bowl-return initiative called bowl bank in wagamama brighton. at this restaurant, you can return your wagamama take-out bowls to us, where we will ensure they are collected and commercially recycled. to drive this positive action, in return for our bowls, **we’ll exchange a voucher for a side on us **

we’ve identified certain boroughs in the UK, where plastic is burnt rather than recycled. we intend to roll bowl bank out to these locations first. following which, we hope to offer bowl bank in every wagamama UK restaurant in the new year

while this year our focus has been our take-out packaging, our journey is not complete. we will be looking at the sustainability of all essential brand materials next. this will include uniforms, placemat/menus, chopsticks and napkins. watch this space for updates on these projects

firecracker tofu

tackling food waste

for years now, monitoring and reducing food waste in our kitchens has been a strength for us at wagamama. but, we recognise one of the biggest sources of food waste comes from ‘plate waste’ – the food leftover on guests plates. if it were a country, food waste would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases - one third of all food goes to waste globally and we want to be part of the solution

working with the sustainable restaurant association, we’re collaborating on a project to measure and manage plate-waste to develop initiatives to solve this wide-spread issue. we’re operating a trial in three of our restaurants currently

still early on in our journey, we have just completed an audit of the volume + type of plate waste we’re typically seeing. our next stage is to use this data to identify what actions we could do to reduce this waste. watch this space for further updates

carbon. reduce first. offset second

we are founding members of the zero carbon forum, an organisation that sees the hospitality industry collaborate on sustainable initiatives to reduce carbon. as part of our responsibilities on the advisory board, we co-chair working groups with our peers to drive change within our sector

under the paris agreement, globally we must limit global warming to 1.5c to curb the climate crisis. profound change is possible, but we must collectively make choices, both big + small, to limit our impact on the earth

it was important to us that our strategy focussed on reducing our carbon output first before offsetting through trusted decarbonation initiatives. measuring our total carbon output, allowed us to set goals and identify where we could make reductions. leading to our ambition to be carbon neutral by 2035

what's in scope?

scope 1+2

most actions we take as a business have a carbon-related consequence. which can be measured across 3 scopes. scope 1 + 2 are the carbon emissions we have a direct hand in emitting. these are predominantly driven by the energy and gas used to run our restaurants

since we began our carbon reduction journey, we have measured our footprint and invested in technology and behavioural change tools to reduce it. now, we have switched to renewable energy + gas, decarbonating the biggest portion of our footprint. the final 8% of residual emissions has been offset by investing in reforestation, which over time removes carbon from the atmosphere

scope 3

most of our output can now be identified as scope 3. this is the indirect carbon output we contribute to creating as a business. like the emissions caused by our team members transporting to and from work everyday, **or the emissions from growing and farming the ingredients in our food **

scope 3 will be one of our key treading softly focuses going forward

the actions we’re taking to reduce and then offset where necessary are below, they include, but are not limited to:

waste and water decarbonisation collaborating with suppliers to reduce their emissions increasingly make informed ingredient and menu innovation decisions sourcing locally where possible building our restaurants sustainably

we will restlessly continue to eliminate what we can and offset what we can’t. our efforts to be carbon neutral will be consistent, considered and always evolving until we meet our goal by 2035. stay tuned for our progress, we will regularly update this page