We work with restaurants to make smart, non-intrusive improvements that can reduce their climate impact. Many of these changes end up saving the restaurants money on utility bills. But even the most efficient restaurants still have a carbon footprint. ZeroFoodprint supports a number of food-related carbon-reduction projects around the world to offset the remaining emissions.
Offsets, also known as carbon credits, are created when a carbon project—an activity aimed specifically at reducing greenhouse gases—proves to a group of scientists that they are keeping harmful gas from entering the atmosphere. The project can then sell that credit (measured in tonnes of carbon avoided) to fund their project. In other words, credits make the carbon-project world go round. Without the revenue from the sale of the credits, the project would not be financially viable.
Offsets are the best tool we have to address unavoidable emissions. Many businesses use them to counteract energy-based emissions in locations where they cannot source renewable energy. Even in the most efficient restaurant, food needs to be cooked, and the ingredients will always have an associated foodprint. Thus a good portion of the foodprint will always be unavoidable.
ZeroFoodprint restaurants support a number of food-related carbon-reduction projects around the world. We aim to drive offset investments toward regenerative agriculture, recognizing that food is a part of our climate problem, but also a part of the solution.
Our current offset portfolio includes:
Biogas Program for small-scale farms in Vietnam
Project type: Livestock Gas Capture/Combustion
Carbon Offset Standard: Gold
This not-for-profit project manufactures anaerobic digesters that capture methane gas from manure created by animals kept by family farmers in rural Vietnam. The gas is then used for cooking and lighting in the farmers' households. Some of the benefits of this project include:
- Destroying methane resulting from the decomposition of animal waste
- Offering a clean and renewable energy source at a lower cost
- Reduces deforestation by providing an alternative source of fuel
- Creates jobs
- Improves sanitation
Cleaner, more efficient Ghanaian Cookstove project
Project type: Energy Efficiency
Carbon Offset Standard: Gold
This project subsidizes locally made, improved cookstoves for rural West African homes. The cookstoves burn fuel—usually charcoal, dung, and wood—more cleanly and efficiently, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the benefits of the project include:
- Alleviating harmful smoke and indoor air pollution
- Reducing fuel requirements, thus putting less stress on local forests and lowering costs for households
- Creating local jobs by using only products made and distributed in the country
Livestock Methane capture in Upstate
Project type: Livestock Gas
Carbon Offset Standard: Climate Action Reserve
Sunny Knoll is a farm with 1,200 milk cows in Perry, New York. The farm began capturing gas from livestock manure in 2006. Electricity generators fueled by this gas allow the farm to power itself fully and sell electricity back to the grid. Installing methane digesters on small farms like Sunny Knoll is expensive. This project helps subsidize the cost. Benefits include:
- Reducing local groundwater pollution by reducing runoff from manure storage lagoons
- Reduces odor in community
- Displaces traditional fossil-fuel power in the grid
- Reduces farm's energy costs