Ethical retailer of the week: Pret A Manger
Pret A Manger is a popular chain of food shops in the UK, which promotes fresh natural eating and focuses on ethics and sustainability to run the business.
Pret was founded in 1986 by Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham, who wanted to create food without chemicals, additives and preservatives – quite the opposite of traditional fast food.
The company has now shops around the world and across the UK, making around 450 million pounds a year. It focuses on ‘good food’, preparing fresh sandwiches and wraps day by day and does not keep them overnight. Those left at the end of the day are donated to charity.
Pret serves sustainably sourced ingredients and organic coffee. It has a “no air freighting policy” and is committed to minimising the amount of waste from its operations, for instance by getting rid of plastic bags and by composting its organic waste in stores.
In order to reduce its carbon footprint, Pret also installed energy efficiency tools, such as water and electricity smart meters to reduce energy consumption.
The company also set up a charity back in 1995, the Pret Foundation Trust, working on reducing poverty in the UK. Through one of the charity’s projects, the Pret Charity Run, the company gives around 12,000 fresh meals at the end of the day to homeless and shelters every week. This also helps reduce the amount of waste directed to landfill.
The Trust also set up an apprenticeship scheme to help homeless people get into employment.
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