Sustainability in the restaurant industry : a Cape Town study

Welter, Karen (2012-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The main aims of this thesis were to focus on the restaurant system in Cape Town with a view to creating a support mechanism for a move to more sustainable practices. A review of the literature found that despite a growing global population, the pressure on resources and consumption has been driven by the global middle class. Over half the world lives in cities and dualistic urban systems reinforce access to resources by excluding the poor and favouring the wealthy. Resource flows and consumption have degraded ecosystems, created waste and emissions. We use resources faster than they can be replenished and have exceeded the earth’s regenerative capacity. Counter to this, there is evidence of decoupling resource use from economic growth. Similarly, the industrialised food system has been created on external inputs such as fertiliser and insecticides, largely derived from fossil fuels. Food produced in the system uses energy, produces waste, depletes the soil and thwarts biodiversity. The global food system counters local food economies. This thesis argues that a sustainable system would have the economy as a basis for a better and equitable environment for current and future generations within ecological and regenerative capacity. As a city Cape Town reflects the inequalities and unsustainability of the global system, with vast disparities in wealth and opportunity. Restaurants can control flows of energy, food and waste, support people and the environment, as well as communicate and educate consumers. By collaborative efforts they can lay the basis for local food economies. Restaurants connect consumers to their food and make decisions about where the food comes from, how it will be prepared and disposed of and who will engage in that preparation. The restaurant sector can contribute to sustainability in its use of resources as well as its employment, community engagement and communication practices. This in turn supports local economies and impacts on the broader sustainability of the city. Research into the restaurant system in Cape Town showed that there is consumer interest in sustainability. There is evidence of restaurants making efforts towards sustainable endeavours. Within Cape Town there is the opportunity to look for more sustainable energy, work around local and seasonal menus, support local food economies, and control wastage. Local food economies can be supported while staff can also be treated fairly and given growth opportunities. Endeavours can be communicated as a way of shifting current unsustainable consumption patterns. The conclusions drawn from the thesis suggest that like the Sustainable Restaurant Associations (SRA) and Dinegreen there is space for a support mechanism for the restaurant industry where individual restaurants can be helped to move to sustainability and collaborate with other stakeholders. The recommendations of the thesis are to create an organisation that can evolve into a co-operative that will bring restaurants together and map out the changes they make. They need to be supported with expertise and audits of their current practice so that they can set goals for the future with regard to their environmental and social actions.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die hoof doel van hierdie dissertasie was om die restaurantstelsel in Kaapstad te ondersoek met die oog daarop om ‘n ondersteuningsmeganisme vir meer volhoubare praktyke te skep. ‘n Literatuuroorsig het getoon dat ten spyte van ‘n groeiende wereldbevolking, die druk op natuurlike en ander hulpbronne deur die wereldwye middelklas uitgeoefen word. Meer as die helfte van die wereld woon in stede en dualistiese stedelike stelsels versterk toegang tot sulke hulpbronne deur die armes uit te sluit en voorkeur te gee aan die reikes. Die vloei en verbruik van hulpbronne het ekologiese stelsels gedegradeer en afskeidings en afval vergroot. Ons verbruik hierdie hulpbronne vinniger as wat hulle vervang kan word en het die aarde se herstelkapasiteit oorskry. Aan die ander hand is daar bewyse dat die verbruik van hulpbronne ontkoppel is van ekonomiese groei. Insgelyks is die industrieele voedselstelsel gegrond op externe inset soos kunsmis en insekdoders, wat grootendeels van fossiele brandstof bekom word. Voedsel wat in hierdie stelsel geproduseer word verbruik energie, skep afval, put die grond uit en werk biologiese verskeidenheid tee. Die globale voedselstelsel is in teenstand teenoor plaaslike voedselekonomiee. Hierdie dissertasie redeneer uit die oogpunt dat ‘n onderhoudbare stelsel die ekonomie as ‘n basis vir ‘n beter en billike omgewing vir huidige en toekomstige geslagte, binne die ekologiese kapasiteit, sou he. Die stad Kaapstad weerkaats die ongelykhede en onvolhoubaarheid van die wereldwye stelsel, met sy ongelykhede in welstand en geleenthede. Restaurante kan beheer uitoefen oor hulle vloei van energie, voedsel en afval, kan mense en die omgewing ondersteun, sowel as verbruikers inlig en oplei. Deur pogings om saam te werk kan hulle die grondslag le vir plaaslike voedselekonomiee. Restaurante kan verbruikers verbind tot hulle voedsel en kan besluite neem oor waarvandaan die voedsel verkry word, asook hoe dit berei en afgedoen sal word en wie dit sal berei. Die restaurantsektor kan bydra tot volhoubaarheid in sy gebruik van hulpbronne sowel as inwerkneming, gemeenskapsbetrokkenheid en kommunikasiepraktyke. Dit sal op sy beurt dan plaaslike ekonomiee ondersteun en ‘n wyer impak he op die volhoubaarheid van die stad. Navorsing oor die restaurantstelsel in Kaapstad het getoon dat die verbruiker belang stel in volhoubaarheid. Daar is tekens daarvan dat restaurante pogings aanwend in die rigting van beter volhoubaarheid. In Kaapstad bestaan die geleentheid om te soek na meer volhoubare energie, rondom seisoenaangepaste spyskaarte, die ondersteuning van plaaslike voedselekonomiee, en die beheer van afval. Plaaslike voedselekonomiee kan ondersteun word terwyl werknemers regverdig behandel word, en moontlikhede tot vooruitgang het. Hierdie pogings kan oorgedra word as ‘n manier om die huidige onvolhoubare verbruikspatrone te verander. Die afleidings wat gemaak word in hierdie dissertasie stel voor dat daar plek is vir ‘n ondersteuningsmeganisme vir die restaurantindustrie, soos die “Sustainable Restaurant Associations” (SRA) en “Dinegreen”, waar die individuele restaurant gehelp kan word in rigting volhoubaarheid te beweeg en om saam te werk met ander belangstellendes. Hierdie dissertasie stel voor om ‘n organisasie te skep wat kan ontwikkel tot ‘n kooperatiewe wat restaurant saam kan bring en die veranderings wat hulle aanbring kan uiteensit. Hulle sal moet ondersteun word met kennis en ouditering van hulle huidige praktyke, sodat hulle doele kan stel vir die toekoms met betrekking tot hulle omgewings en sosiaal gerigte handeling.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71819
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