The Sustainable Restaurant: Does It Exist?

Authored by: Charles Barneby , Juline E. Mills

The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Food and Gastronomy

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415702553
eBook ISBN: 9780203795699
Adobe ISBN: 9781134457335


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“Sustainability” is undoubtedly one of the top ten buzz words of the past decade. Countries, companies, and environmentalists are continually developing mandates and strategic plans aimed at massive improvements to sustainability initiatives. From Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Australia currently ranked as the most sustainable countries in the world for environmental health and ecosystem vitality by Yale University 2014 Environmental Performance Index; the US president signing an executive order aimed at greening and making federal agencies more sustainable (White House, 2009); to Bank of America (2014), a foremost leader in the field, dedicating $70 billion over the next 16 years to becoming more sustainable and efficient. While positive examples abound on sustainable improvements by countries, Fortune 500 companies, and key environmentalists, flaws do exist that prevent wider advancement in the field. Perhaps the greatest harbinger of problems that can arise with becoming a sustainable company is the 2006 lawsuit in which the developer of a restaurant and luxury condominium project became embroiled in a countersuit with the general contractor for losses in state tax credits and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification due to construction delays (McDill, 2009). In 2010, in Gifford Fuel Saving vs. the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and LEED, the plaintiff brought a class action lawsuit claiming that it was misled into thinking that its building would be more energy efficient after following the guidelines and becoming LEED certified. Gifford Fuel Savings found instead of energy efficiencies, more was being paid in utility fees and the building had in fact become less efficient (Roberts, 2010).

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