National Trust pub among first to list items according to their carbon footprint

Press release
Sticklebarn omega sign
Published : 02 May 2019

The National Trust’s only owned and run pub is amongst the first in the country to use a carbon calculator to let diners know what the carbon footprint is of each dish on its menu. 

It’s the latest in a series of measures by Sticklebarn pub staff in the Lake District to reduce the environmental impact of the Trust’s pub. It is powered by hydroelectricity and last year was awarded two out of three stars by the Sustainable Restaurant Association. 

The conservation charity, which has owned and run the Sticklebarn since 2011, has teamed up with Lancaster University’s Mike Berners-Lee, a leading expert in carbon foot printing to produce the ratings. 

Mike and experts at Small World Consulting, part of the University, say that a carbon footprint is the best estimate of the full climate change impact. 

It is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, and is usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). 

For context, an average person in the UK person produces around 9kg CO2e a day through eating and drinking, depending on their diet. 

At Sticklebarn, dishes with a lower carbon impact include black bean burger, at 0.86kg CO2e, and apple and walnut salad with baked polenta is 0.97kg CO2e. Those with meat, range between 2.72kg CO2e to 5.4kg CO2e.

“Food is such an important part of people’s lives and there is much more awareness and interest in seasonal and local. The carbon calculator is a way of quantifying this. It helps us plan the menu and provides diners with choices,” says Sticklebarn’s food and beverages manager Gareth Fuke.

“It’s been well received and people appreciate being given the freedom to choose what they want to eat. 

“We want meat on our menu that is local and high quality so we can cater for everyone.

“At Sticklebarn we champion the traditional Herdwick breed for our lamb dishes, produced by local farmers including our tenant farmers. These hardy sheep graze on our mountains and taste wonderful” adds Gareth.

The team at Sticklebarn worked with Mike and Small World Consultancy who spent 10 years creating a data base and a tool to measure carbon emissions. 

A university professor and carbon emissions consultant, Mike is also author of several books including ‘How Bad are Bananas’ and ‘There Is No Planet B’.

He said: “We spent more than a decade analysing all the individual components that go into the life cycle of everyday items like food, clothes and transport. It gives us a rich data base from which we can calculate carbon emissions. Meat is high, but so is anything that arrives by plane like asparagus, grapes and raspberries. Anything imported by boat, or travelling by road, usually has a far lower carbon footprint.”

For further press information please contact: Paul Adcock, Senior Communications Manager at the National Trust, 07920 414542 or paul.adcock@nationaltrust.org.uk