The global travel concession operator plans to slash total GHG emissions 90% by 2040 and will focus on plant-based menus and responsible supplier relationships to reduce Scope 3 emissions, which currently generate 90% of its total GHG footprint
An SSP-operated Pret A Manger store at Zurich airport | Photo credit: SSP Group
SSP Group’s net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets have been approved by the by Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) – the global body for validating emissions reductions targets in line with the latest climate science.
The global travel concession operator first announced its net-zero ambition in December 2021. The approved targets include a 60% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions (produced from direct operations and energy usage respectively) by 2032 from a 2019 baseline, and a 35% reduction in Scope 3 supply chain emissions within the same timeframe.
Longer-term, SSP Group has set a goal to reduce its Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions 90% by 2040 based on 2019 levels.
“Reaching net-zero will be a challenging undertaking and not something that we can do in isolation. We have a clear roadmap for the next decade and beyond and, with the strength of our commitment, strategy and partnerships, we believe we can, together, drive positive change across the food travel sector,” said Patrick Coveney, CEO of SSP Group.
As of the end of 2022, SSP said it had reduced absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 36%. However, with more than 90% of its total GHG footprint comes Scope 3 emissions, the UK-based operator said it is working to select suppliers ‘that have strong sustainability credentials and sourcing local and seasonal ingredients and products that meet recognised sustainability standards and certifications’.
Other initiatives include increasing the proportion of own-brand plant-based options available across its portfolio of foodservice brands to 33%, with 85% of its own-brand coffee units North America, Continental Europe and UK & Ireland regions currently offering non-dairy milk alternatives.
“Our roadmap to address Scope 3, at its heart focusses on sustainable sourcing and decarbonising our recipes and menus. This includes the introduction of more meat-free and plant-based choices and increasing our use of seasonal and locally sourced items,’ said Sarah John, Corporate Affairs Director, SSP Group.
SSP’s GHG emissions targets are ambitious given the vast scale of its global operations and supply chains. The travel concession operator manages a portfolio of 550 brands and concepts across 36 countries on six continents, comprising around 2,800 retail units and employing some 37,000 staff.
Announcing a preview of its full-year earnings
in mid-September, SSP Group said a broad recovery in air passenger volumes around the world would enable the business to achieve £3bn ($3.7bn) revenues – 37% higher than the previous year and 16% above pre-pandemic levels.