Friday, 17 October 2014

Climate Miles Survey: Do we need a new sub-category of restaurants titled “Sustainable/Green Eateries” ?

If given a choice, we would rather go to a restaurant that conducts itself in a sustainable manner - whether it is with respect to food sourcing, handling its energy and waste, or trying to eliminate pesticides from its ingredients. From anecdotal discussions it seemed that we are not alone. It was interesting to realise that there are many food lovers who would like to be informed about these parameters and there are many restaurant owners as well who would like to reach out to such customers by highlighting their own green/ organic/ sustainable  operations.  At Climate Miles, instead of relying on anecdotal observation, we decided to do a quick survey - for both customers and restaurant owners to share the results of this survey with all of you.  In this digital age, an important link between the customer and the service provider is the online directory service. These services have replaced ‘yellow pages’ both in terms of volume and quality of content. They provide not only the names and contact details of th service providers, but also prices, special services and even customer reviews.

Our larger aim in doing this survey was to underscore the role of online food directories like zomato, burrp, timesfood guide in how they 'tag' eateries.

We conducted our customer survey over 2 weeks, (primarily among restaurants in India, customers between the age of 15 to 50 ) in order to highlight the need and relevance of such a sub-category in the hospitality sector by understanding customer choices. Then we contacted restaurant/eatery owners to understand their level of interest in sustainability. Many of whom were already on the path.

Objective of the survey:

To gauge the following:

For customers,
·         Apart from taste, presentation and ambiance, what else is important to a customer when they walk into their favourite restaurant?
·         Whether customers would like the option of a “green eatery” among other categories on popular food apps like #zomato #burrp #timesfoodguide #justeatin #foodpanda
·         Whether such an option is important to customers and could be one of the criteria that helps them decide between restaurants.

For restaurants,
·         Whether restaurants would like to be a part of the emerging trend. For those who already are, whether they would like to be recognised and highlighted for it on food directories like zomato, burrp, timesfoodguide justeatin  and foodpanda.

Let use see what the survey reveals!

Questionnaire for CUSTOMERS (Date: 2nd October 2014)

Apart from taste, presentation and ambiance, which of the below characteristics are important to you when choosing an eatery/restaurant to dine-in.
a.     Where the food comes from (locally sourced)
b.    Whether the food is organic
c.     The initiatives put in place by the restaurant to minimise energy/water use and yet keep the guest comfortable.
d.    The cutlery used at the restaurant or during take-away (packaging using recycled/recyclable plastic, cloth, paper etc).
e.     What happens to the left-over food once you have eaten (homeless, fed to stray dogs or composted)

Among the above choices, which would you say means the MOST important to you?

As seen from the above, what happens to left-overs (70%) food at restaurants is the biggest concern for customers. A Close second is if the food served at the restaurants is organic (69%) and finally third if the food is locally sourced (65%). Goes to show that customers do inherently care about their own health and the waste they generate. Packaging& Cutlery(50%) and Energy/Water Usage(53%) at the restaurant is also relevant to them.When asked what was MOST important to them, 38% felt that it was where the food came from.

When you lookup restaurants /eateries on food apps (like zomato, timesfoodguide, tripadvisor, justeatin & burrp), would you like the added option of also knowing the ‘green eatery(s) inyour neghborhood along with the preferences like vegan, organic etc?

a.    Yes
b.    No
c.     Don’t care either way

Highly encouraging to know that 56% felt it is important to add a new category on food apps to highlight “green” or “sustainable” restaurants in the area. While 42% felt it would be great to have such a category but it is not critical.

Would a sustainable rating be a deciding factor for your selection between two or more restaurants with similar attributes?
a.     Yes
b.    No

The above shows that if customers are given an option, they would ideally like choose a more environmentally responsible restaurant. This shows the need for such a category to inform the customers of the initiatives taken by their favorite restaurants and eateries to become sustainable.

Questionnaire for RESTAURANT OWNERS (Date: 2nd October 2014)
Do you want your restaurant to be highlighted as a green/organic/ promoting local produce / energy efficient /sustainable restaurant in food directories like zomato, timesfoodguide, tripadvisor, justeatin & burrp etc.
100% of all the restaurants we approached said YES!
Among the few of restaurants who participated in the survey - popular Organic / Vegan Restaurants in Bangalore, India such as Carrots, greentheory paradigm shift participated in order to spread the word about their approach and efforts.

Others who participated in the survey

Thursday, 16 October 2014

A Climate Miles Study : 2014 Global Investor Statement on Climate Change Signatories


At the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Change Summit, on the 23rd of September 2014, the 2014 Global Investor Statement on Climate Change was presented.

Who contributed? This Statement was drafted through a collaboration of six organizations: the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC), the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC),Ceres' InvestorNetwork on Climate Risk (INCR), the Investor Group on Climate Change Australia/New Zealand (IGCC), the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

The 2014 Global Investor Statement on Climate Change states the contribution that investors can make to increasing low carbon and climate resilient investments. It offers practical proposals on how contribution may be accelerated and increased through appropriate government action. Highly ambitious climate policies are called for in the Statement which would and can help grow such pockets of leadership. The 2014 Statement was accompanied by another report which shared current investor and finance sector leadership actions on climate change. This report complements the Statement and highlights that finance sector leadership on climate change is not only possible but already happening today.

Who were the signatories? Signatories to the global statement are Institutional Asset Owners and Asset Managers from around the world. Initial Signatories were listed (348 global institutional investors representing over $24trillion in assets) on the Statement presented at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Change Summit on 23 September. Investors will be able to sign the statement after its launch, up until 15 November 2015, prior to the COP 20 meeting in Lima.

The 2014 Global Investor Statement on Climate Change has called on government leaders to provide stable, reliable and economically meaningful carbon pricing that helps redirect investment commensurate with the scale of the climate change challenge, as well as develop plans to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

Study of the Signatories

This study was conducted to better understand  the signatories listed on the above statement. For more information on the study, get in touch with the ClimateMiles team or email us at

Focus points:

§  Whether they are funds or fund managers

§  Countries they operate in

§  Whether they have been exploring responsible investment opportunities in the past (& the kind of projects they invest in)

§ Whether they have their own indices/parameters/approach for choosing investments

§  Any other interesting information that could be highlighted

 Funds or Fund Managers

The list primarily consisted of fund managers – some of whom explore responsible investment options and have been doing so for a while. Almost all have very loose social/environmental impact missions stated on their websites. There were also many church organisations that have set-up funds to explore social-related investments such as better housing, health, community, food, sanitation and clean water. None so far have mentioned being part of the 2014 Global Investor Statement on Climate Change on their websites.

Countries of operation

A majority of the funds were based in USA, the rest in Canada or Europe. Fund managers were also mainly North American, but had offices in Europe, Australia including South and Southeast Asia. A few operated in India. Even fewer in Africa.

ESG & Responsible Investments: Projects invested in

Many of the signatories take into account environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts when conducting their investment analysis and dring decision-making processes. ESG issues often affect companies and sectors over time, they may also affect investment performance and therefore some have stated that they have started exploring ESG issues that could have a material impact on their investment performance. Most of the common ESG/Sustainable projects invested in are:

§  Clean technology - including Renewable Energy
§  Climate Risk
§  Sustainable building & construction (Green real estate)
§  Healthcare, Food and Clean water
§  Sustainable products and services
§  Other Low-carbon projects
§  Social change – social & economic justice
§  Environment protection and conservation
However, there were also many general multi-asset financial products.

Approach to choosing investments

Most of the fund managers explore long-term investment opportunities for their clients. Those who explored responsible investment had their own internal policy and process for choosing the sectors/ projects to invest in. Often dedicated ESG teams were created to conduct focused studies to identify risks and opportunities. Some asset-managers had even signed on to the Principles of Responsible Investment as early as 2007.

A majority made generic statements about making socially beneficial investments, and mentioned some sectors of interest, but did not provide specific parameters for their investment strategy. Some had CDP partnership, or collaborations with other voluntary regulatory bodies.

Detailed descriptions on the previous investments and the impact of the same were not shared.


§  There was a mention of the FTSE Group which launched the FTSE Environmental Markets Index Series in collaboration with the environmental technology specialist, Impax Asset Management (a signatory of the 2014 Global Investor Statement on Climate Change), to provide two new environmental index solutions: the FTSE Environmental Technology Index Series and the FTSE Environmental Opportunities Index Series.

§  Another signatory is BNP Paribas. In the ‘small customer’ category – BNP Paribas is among the least expensive banks. BNP Paribas bank charges are below average. A range of alternative payment methods at no extra cost for the most vulnerable. It is also the only financial institution which offers this service entirely free of charge. Today the group has no establishment in any country designated as a tax haven under the OECD definition.

§  Boardwalk Capital Management is a certified B-Corp has signed the 2014 Global Investor Statement on Climate Change. Environment stewardship and social impact are embedded into its identity. 20% of the future profits will be directed to social impact and charitable enterprises.

§  IL&FS Investment Managers Limited, established in 1989, is India s oldest and largest private equity fund manager. They too are among the signatories for the 2014 Global Investor Statement on Climate Change. IIML is now also expanding to new geographies. It now advises on investments across the Asian region (1st for India). Investors to IIML managed funds include all major banks and institutions in India. IIML invests in various sectors such as telecom, infrastructure, city-gas distribution, shipyards, retail, media and even real estate.

Written by Ambika Balraj 
Other Contributors : Priyanka Gupta, Pramod S, Joe Kent