Restaurants go carbon neutral

Two downtown eateries earn distinction of being carbon neutral.

Two downtown Victoria restaurants, Zambri’s and The Guild, have recently earned the distinction of being carbon neutral.

Overseen by Synergy Enterprises, the first step of the process involves calculating the amount of CO2 emissions. This includes the amount of waste produced, the amount of water and natural gas used in the kitchen and greenhouse gas emissions produced by delivery trucks and staff.

Synergy Enterprises founder Jill Doucette said that the average North American restaurant produces 350 tonnes of CO2 annually, though Zambri’s and The Guild now produce just 66 tonnes.

The remainder is “neutralized” by purchasing carbon offsets, which are used to fund green technology research.

Owner Calen McNeil earned carbon neutral status for his other restaurant, Big Wheel Burger, in 2012. He said he was convinced to extend it to Zambri’s and The Guild after seeing how cost-effective it was.

“Some of the highest producers for greenhouse gas emissions are restaurants,” McNeil said. “They’re the low-hanging fruit in the battle against climate change.”

Doucette said that while Victoria has more carbon neutral businesses per capita than many other cities, such as Vancouver, the city still has a long way to go before celebrating.