Giles Coren, sustainability champion?!

As a serious foodie, with a penchant for sardonic humour, I’ve always been a fan of Giles Coren – especially his “The Supersizers Eat…” series with Sue Perkins, which is always good for a laugh.

Now, it seems, I’ve got another reason to like him…

As my old MBA buddy, Neil McCrossen, kindly pointed out to me today, Coren has recently begun incorporating sustainability criteria into his restaurant reviews for The Times, drawing upon scores awarded by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) – see here.

[A small aside: it turns out that the SRA’s co-founder is one Giles Gibbons, not only the founder of leading sustainable business consultancy, Good Business, but also one of the luminaries who saw fit to endorse my book. Small world or what?! Anyhoo…]

The SRA score is awarded according to performance against 14 different criteria – everything from the obvious issues of local, sustainable sourcing of ingredients and waste management to the social responsibility they take for staff and the local community.

What’s really great about what Coren is doing with this, though, is that he’s not just tagging that score onto his reviews as an afterthought. He’s fully integrating it into his overall rating for the restaurant, which, as he explains in his own inimitable style, means that…

…depending on the SRA’s audit, a restaurant’s overall rating could be affected by up to three points out of ten. I could have a great meal and give 8/10 for both food and service, and then a bum rating from the SRA could lead to its getting as little as 5, and being quite furious with me for giving so much credence to environmental issues, but then maybe thinking about changing.

That, my dear Mr Coren, is a master stroke, and I salute you for it!


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