Dining Out

Published on July 1st, 2010 | by Scott James

Otarian Serves Up Carbon Footprints With Its Menu

Eating is something we all have to do, but as all earth-conscious people know, fast food restaurants are not the place to do it. And no matter where you eat, you never really know the total impact of your meal on the Earth, right? Not anymore. Radhika Oswal, an Australian environmentalist and vegetarian, founded a fast food restaurant this spring called Otarian based on her belief that being a vegetarian is the most environmentally sound and sustainable way to live. With a motto like, “Where you can enjoy delicious food that loves life and the planet,” you know that it’s more than just a business for her. Otarian claims to be the first restaurant in the world that traces and reports the carbon footprint of everything they serve.

Photo Credit: iateapie Otarian serves your meal with its carbon footprint.

Otarian serves your meal with its carbon footprint.

“With Otarian I hope to show that food can be delicious and good for the planet. If each vegetarian meal saves even one kilogram of carbon emissions or grain, or one litre of water or oil, the cumulative benefits of eating at Otarian can change the planet’s current trajectory.” — Otarian founder Radhika Oswal

The concept at Otarian is focused on the carbon footrpint of the meals that they serve. Each dish on the menu also lists its exact carbon footprint, and the entire menu is constructed with a focus on creating low-carbon meals and designed around crop sustainability and the fact that vegetarian diets create a smaller ecological footprint with reduced carbon emissions to produce and reduced water impacts. According to Otarian, their ‘Carbon Saving Combo Meal’ can save up to 3kg of carbon.

They even have a carbon emissions twist on their customer loyalty card- every time you purchase a meal, you receive “Carbon Karma” points, redeemable later for extra items. Aside from the food, they will recycle or compost at least 98 per cent of all the waste they generate.

“The work we have been doing for Otarian is very relevant given the ongoing debate about low carbon food choices. The carbon footprint assessment was instrumental in encouraging engagement with suppliers and identifying ways of reducing greenhouse gases from the menu. This hopefully marks the start of a new way of doing things for the restaurant industry.” – Dr. Jean-Yves Cherruault accounting manager at Sustain, Otarian PR





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About the Author

Scott James lives and plays in San Francisco, enjoying good coffee, innovative minds and challenging conversation.



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