Green Scene: Certifiably Sustainable Food

Green Meetings

Luce at the InterContinental San Francisco is one of 26 restaurants managed by the brand that achieved environmental certification


The kitchen is a major part of most full-service hotels’ operations, so it ought to be a major part of their sustainability efforts. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts decided to focus on the 26 restaurants that it manages in its hotels in the United States and Canada and require each of them to meet environmental certification standards established by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA). In September, it became the first hotel brand to have all of its restaurants earn at least 100 points in the GRA’s system, granting them two- or three-star ratings.

The initiative started with Miel Brasserie Provencale at the InterContinental Boston, which decided to pursue certification in 2011. Based on the restaurant’s positive feedback about the experience, the brand directed its other restaurants to follow suit. Together they implemented more than 1,000 steps designed to improve water efficiency, reduce waste and energy usage, utilize sustainable ingredients and building materials, limit use of disposable items and chemicals, and boost other environmentally beneficial initiatives. All of the restaurants completely eliminated their use of polystyrene foam and started full-scale recycling programs. Here are a few highlights of specific restaurants’ accomplishments:

  • Ca Va Brasserie, InterContinental New York Times Square: Took steps to divert 95 percent of its waste from landfills via recycling and composting
  • Luce Restaurant, InterContinental San Francisco: Began offsetting 100 percent of its power needs with renewable energy credits and installed efficient spray valves for pre-rinsing dishes that use less than 1 gallon of water per minute

The details of how each restaurant achieved certification are listed on the GRA’s website. To view them, search for the restaurant and click on its star rating.