A number of leading restaurants including Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Petersham Nurseries and Carluccio's have signed up to the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) which launched at Hotelympia this week.
The SRA is a not-for-profit, nationwide, membership-based organisation committed to promoting sustainability across the UK's restaurant industry, from high street chains to fine dining operators.
The SRA, which is supported by restaurant bookings website Top Table and advisory firm Sustain, offers its members a range of services to become more sustainable including an audit where a gold, silver and bronze accreditation is awarded.
A wide range of operators have already joined the SRA including Sam and Eddie Hart whose restaurants include Barrafina and Quo Vadis in London; Mexican restaurant group Wahaca; Mitch Tonks' Rockfish Grill and Seahorse; and healthy fast-food chain Leon.
Eddie Hart told Caterersearch he hoped the SRA would help him make better choices.
"We have always been interested in being more sustainable and have been talking to our suppliers for some time now about only having sustainable fish on our menus," he said.
"However, we have to focus on running the business so we hope that the team of experts at the SRA will be able to provide us with the information we need and help us make the right choices."
Ahead of its launch, the SRA commissioned a survey on public attitudes towards sustainability in the restaurant sector, questioning nearly 1,100 consumers.
While two thirds said they felt that the restaurant industry needed to do more in terms of sustainability, 70% said they would be more or much more likely to visit a restaurant with an overall award for its social and environmental performance.
Simon Heppner, managing director of the SRA, said restaurants are under increasing pressure to become more sustainable.
"This survey shows that they can't ignore these demands if they want to satisfy existing customers and win new business," he said. "The SRA has been set up to help them understand what they can do, and gain credit for the efforts they make."
By Kerstin KÁ¼hn
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