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“Positive steps for the environment do not drive any increased customer support, which makes the extra cost harder for most to assume”


ZFPA is starting the program with two


pilot projects in Hong Kong, a city that relies heavily on eating out with the highest number of restaurants per capita in the world. The program is starting with two pilot projects in Hong Kong, and they’re already eyeing up places like Singapore and Taiwan as well as mainland China – where Chan envisages they’ll really be able to scale up. “With regenerative farming, whether through managed grazing or silvopasture, there’s more impact if the acreage is higher – more land gives a higher surface area for carbon sequestration.”


Going full circle


Matt Reid (top) and Malcolm Wood (above) were early supporters of ZFPA through their restaurant business Maximal Concepts


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Chan also champions education to redefine our relationship with food and how everything we source and eat links to biodiversity and sustainability. “In cities such as Hong Kong where 90% of food is imported and we rely heavily on convenience, we’ve lost connection to where our food comes from. Hence why we also have a massive food waste problem – we’re one of the most wasteful cities in the world,” Chan continues. Only 60 years ago, two- thirds of the vegetables consumed in Hong Kong were grown locally. “Arable land has been wiped out for property developments, so the population of farmers has decreased. We need to bring that knowledge back.” In the future, ZFPA will launch the Carbon Neutrality program, working with chefs to carry out life cycle assessments (LCA) to measure, reduce and offset their


carbon emissions. “An LCA examines a restaurant’s past 12 months of inventory, as well as energy, water and waste to ascertain the amount of CO2 its operations emit on average.” Alongside calculating a restaurant’s carbon offset the data can inform and change sourcing habits, for example, swapping out more carbon- intensive ingredients. “If a restaurant is using prawns for a dish, the tool may suggest using mussels instead as they cause 30% less carbon emissions,” says Chan. An early supporter of ZFPA, Matt Reid and Malcolm Wood’s restaurant group Maximal Concepts has championed sustainability since its founding, prioritizing it with what Reid calls “increasing fervor” over the years, “challenging every aspect of our supply chain and making hard choices.” Two of the main barriers Reid sees for


restaurants to achieve carbon neutrality in Hong Kong are “cost and consumer disinterest”.


“The reality is that positive steps for


the environment do not drive any increased customer support, which makes the extra cost harder for most to assume,” he says. To address the issue the duo is launching a new venture, “targeting zero waste and full circularity by 2025 to incubate learnings and new technologies in this space.” While they’re keeping details under wraps, they explain it will price carbon mitigation costs into their cost of goods sold (COGS). “This is a systemic change to look at our ingredients from a more natural capital cost viewpoint.”


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