Sustainability is a word we’ve all heard a thousand times over.
It’s in the news, omnipresent on social media, and is the topic of countless documentaries on Netflix and beyond – it is inescapable.
It’s a word we’ve come to place a huge amount of importance on, and rightly so. It’s the single most important topic in the world right now, particularly for a business like mine, The Bay.
What I’ve come to understand through years of striving to be more sustainable as a business owner is that the best results are achieved when we treat sustainability as a conversation between everyone. Having everybody involved with The Bay – our team, our suppliers and even our neighbouring businesses – as part of the discussion, rather than just myself or a nominated member of the team, is where the most tangible progress has been made.
Sharing the responsibility
When sustainability became everyone’s responsibility, we worked together and found solutions that not only benefitted the environment, but also benefitted the restaurant, our wider network of suppliers and local business community.
We’ve made it our goal to understand every single thing that comes into the business, where it comes from, and how we can ensure it has the smallest impact possible on the environment. This is something we couldn’t do without the help of our network, and I’m truly grateful for their support.
By getting everyone into a more sustainable mindset, we’ve been able to make a huge number of positive changes.
In the shop itself, for example, the team is incentivised to make suggestions for how we can improve, and they’ve been instrumental in projects, such as our custom build shallow sinks which have reduced our waste water by thousands of litres per year. The team is also the reason we became a refill station and started offering refillable water bottles to customers, eliminating single use plastic.
Our suppliers have been incredible, too, and we’ve worked with every single one of them to ensure our relationship has the minimal impact on the environment. This often has the halo effect of adding value to their product.
By listening to different perspectives and working in partnership with our colleagues and friends, we can all learn and move forward together
Our fish supplier has been able to access a greater number of contracts since gaining Marine Stewardship Council certification for their fish, and our butcher saves money as we now share deliveries with nearby businesses, reducing the number of vans on the road. We’ve worked with suppliers to switch to reusable packaging for deliveries, and, together, we’ve reviewed the provenance of countless products and ingredients, which has, in turn, strengthened the sustainability of all of our businesses.
We can all move forward together
By working together to find these solutions, our little community has been able to create a ripple effect that stretches far beyond The Bay and Stonehaven beachfront.
It is my belief that this is how we all need to work to help each other and be as kind to the planet as we possibly can. By listening to different perspectives and working in partnership with our colleagues and friends, we can all learn and move forward together to help reach what is the most important of goals – to be 100% sustainable.
If everyone were to support each other, keep talking about how to improve, and help each other find solutions and continue to strive to be more sustainable, I think people would be surprised how big an impact they can make.
Calum Richardson is owner of The Bay Fish & Chips in Stonehaven