Midlands most sustainable restaurant picks up green gong

Picture for Birmingham City Council. Birmingham Greener Awards.

Opus at Cornwall Street has secured its place as the Midlands’ most sustainable independent restaurant with another award win.

The 2AA Rosette restaurant won the ‘Best Greener and Healthier Lifestyles (Food) Scheme’ award at the ‘Making Birmingham Greener and Healthier Awards 2016’, an accolade from Birmingham’s Green Commissions to celebrate those businesses that are undertaking groundbreaking work with environment.

Opus picked up the gong at a ceremony on Tuesday 5th July at Birmingham Council House, after it demonstrated a dedication to ethical food sourcing, educating schoolchildren on the importance of good nutrition, raising awareness of British suppliers and collaborating with other Birmingham businesses in an attempt to make the city greener.

Praised for its passion for sustainability, 90% of Opus’ produce is sourced in Britain and much around the Midlands, in a bid to support the local economy and lower the restaurant’s carbon footprint. Menus are freshly-written each day, keeping food waste to a minimum.

The restaurant was further commended for its approach to sharing knowledge on moral food sourcing through its unique ‘Source Dinner’ series, in which the restaurant connects the diner with its family of farmers and suppliers, allowing them to hear their compelling stories and see first-hand the passion put into raising their quality produce.

Other initiatives that helped Opus pick up the award, included its work with the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts ‘Adopt a School’ charity programme and its ‘Opus in Conversation’ series. This year, Opus has ‘adopted’ St Clare’s Primary School in Handsworth to teach pupils the importance of food hygiene, healthy nutrition and how to prepare dishes.

‘Opus in Conversation’ is a series of discussions on matters of importance to the city, which this month sees the restaurant campaigning to save the UK’s bee population following news that 35 species are under threat of extinction.

Sarah Hepburn, sustainability champion at Opus at Cornwall Street, said: “Supporting sustainable, British food – as well as sharing our knowledge on ethical sourcing – is so important to the Opus family. We take our responsibility in making Birmingham greener incredibly seriously and we recognise that our actions, along with the influence we can have on others, can make a huge impact. Receiving this award from our own community is a fantastic achievement and is proof of our team’s passion and commitment to this cause.”

Barbara Street, Professional Support Officer to the Sustainability Team at Birmingham City Council, said: “When selecting winners, we were looking at organisations that had gone that extra mile and had done something that is not in their normal line of business. We wanted to reward those whose projects had proven benefits to both people and the environment, could be an inspiration to others and have future ambitions to be even greener. Opus fitted this bill perfectly.

“Not only did the restaurant win due to its ethical purchasing policy, but also because it had taken its food education outreach further by adopting a school and launching a scholarship programme for third year hospitality students at University College Birmingham.”

This outstanding award from Birmingham’s Green Commission follows news that Opus Restaurants was named a ‘Three Star Sustainability Champion’ by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) – the most prestigious and highest possible rating a restaurant can achieve. From achieving its highest rating yet of 82%, the restaurant group is now in the top 9% of SRA members nationally.

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