Zero Footprint Wants Restaurants to Fight Climate Change

Chris Ying wants restaurants to lead the fight against climate change

Chris Ying during MAD4.

This year at Mad4, Chris Ying, editor of Lucky Peach magazine announced an upcoming project intended to help restaurants use their resources to fight climate change by establishing a set of best practices for restaurants interested in reducing their carbon footprint, work directly with restaurants to lower their carbon emissions, and provide useful feedback as to where restaurants can improve their carbon footprint.

“Eating, it turns out, is the most significant interaction most of us have with the environment,” wrote Ying in a Lucky Peach essay.

“The food system is responsible for 30 percent of worldwide carbon emissions. That is to say, almost a third of greenhouse gases are a result of growing, shipping, cooking, and disposing of food… Kitchens connect us to the natural world, and it follows that cooks have a particular vulnerability to the effects of global warming.”

Restaurants, writes Ying, have both the ability and resources to make conscious changes that reduce their carbon footprint; they can achieve this by adjusting their electricity use, work associated with cultivating process deliveries, and waste management practices.

For those restaurants that manage to achieve a zero carbon footprint, the project will offer certification. Though legally meaningless, Ying hopes that Zero Footprint will create a “desirable brand out of being environmentally conscious.”

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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.