There is no Planet B

The Neighbourhood Group

5. Gender Equality 7. Affordable and Clean Energy 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

The Neighbourhood Group operates their restaurants in a way that thrives to serve locally sourced food and beverages yet also reduces waste. The company is 100% carbon neutral through the purchase of carbon offsets and uses Bullfrog Power to operate on renewable green energy. The Neighbourhood Group is a great asset both socially and environmentally.

Authors

Olivia Tourangeau

Olivia Tourangeau

Natasha Bozic

Natasha Bozic

School

Beyond Borders

Beyond Borders

Professor

Matthew Mulhern

Matthew Mulhern

Innovation

The Neighborhood Group is a sustainable restaurant organization that allows customers to support environmental and social development, while enjoying locally sourced food and beverages. There are 5 restaurants involved, 4 are located in Guelph and 1 in Kitchener. Restaurants include Mijiidaa, The Woolwich Arms, Park Grocery, and Borealis Grille and Bar (Guelph and Kitchener locations). Bob Desautels, the founder of The Neighbourhood Group always believed that acting locally and with environmentally sustainable business practices, is a philosophy that should be prioritized in all businesses. Due to his involvement with the founding convention of the Green Party, this is where he developed a lifetime of green aspirations. He then became involved in local breweries, which made him recognize the high quality of local beer, and sparked his drive for implementing “local” in his community. Proud to be a certified B-Corporation, and being the largest B-Corp restaurant company in the world, The Neighbourhood Group meets higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. Being involved with over 2000 businesses who have one unifying goal of redefining success in business, this company also complies with 5 out of the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Bob’s outlook on the human utilization of the planet goes as followed:

“I believe that we have no alternative as ‘There is No Planet B!’ Acting locally with environmentally sustainable business practices is really for our Children’s Children’s Children from whom we are borrowing this earth.”

There is no Planet B

Inspiration

Bob Desautels was inspired by the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, for his passion for sustainable practices to make the world a better place, and to use business as a force for good. The Neighbourhood Group has always believed in serving local products as part of their mission to operate in a sustainable fashion. With their strong belief in consumers buycotting (deliberately dining with The Neighborhood Group in support of their practices), the company thrives and sets the “gold” standard for sustainable and local dining. According to founder, Bob Desautels:

"Our goal is to operate the facility in an environmentally sensitive fashion. We strive to continually search for ways to improve. We hope to eventually recycle and compost most of our waste. In the end, our ultimate goal is to achieve a zero carbon "footprint”.

Overall impact

By providing customers with delicious local food and beverage, The Neighborhood Group of companies distinguishes itself from other competitors by creating unique venues that conserve history, by promoting an “up-beat” group culture, and by operating in a sustainable approach that attracts customers for life. The short term effect of The Neighborhood Group is that the locally crafted food that is fresh taste better and are of higher quality. By supporting local farmers and producers, it contributes to a strengthened economy which creates loyal customers that keep coming back time and time again. As a result, their principles and standards of a successful and sustainable B-Corporation promote the SDGs of the UN to responsibly consume and produce, have equality between genders, have good health and wellbeing, contribute to climate action, use affordable and clean energy, and to live in sustainable cities and communities. Prioritizing fresh and sustainable resources contributes to the long term effect of reducing one’s ecological footprint and contributes to the emotional connection that comes with an enhanced dining experience.

Business benefit

The Neighbourhood Group has revitalized the restaurant industry and created a culture of sustainability and responsibility. The sourcing of their food and beverage, as well as their belief that local tastes better, all support the success of the business. Going green has become increasingly more common in today’s society and The Neighbourhood Group takes pride in ensuring maximum efforts on their part. Supporting and purchasing from local farms and industries benefit the business in its ability to ensure the health and safety of customers. As The Neighbourhood Group obtains the knowledge of where the products were grown and the conditions they have been in, this results in the safest and healthiest meals being served. Not only is the food and beverage in front of a customer safe, but it is also delicious. Since Bob believes in the increased quality of locally sourced food and drink, that is just what these restaurants do. This is a company that is creating positive change in a sustainable manner and it is noticed that the community shows their support and alignment with these values by becoming a returning customer. The impact The Neighbourhood Group has on the globe reveals a direct correlation to the loyalty and support from those returning customers.

Social and environmental benefit

Bob Desautels recognizes that there is no alternative earth and that we all need to act locally with environmentally sustainable business practices.The Neighborhood Group of Companies benefits both the society and environment, and contributes to reaching 6 out of the 17 United Nations’ SDGs. With responsible consumption and production, the restaurants have over 80% locally sourced foods and beverages and reduced waste. Not only does this minimize drink and food miles, but also reduces the carbon output which will help combat climate change. The Neighborhood Group also contributes to climate action by being 100% carbon neutral through the purchase of carbon offsets. With solar panels at one of their locations and using Bullfrog Power (renewable green energy) at all their locations, it contributes to the UN’s goal of affordable and clean energy. At Miijidaa, one of the locations in downtown Guelph, the entire management board is women. The board of The Neighborhood Group is also comprised of 2 women and 3 men. This shows how the business strives for Gender Equality, another goal of the UN. To contribute to sustainable cities and communities, the fryer oil in the restaurants is collected and converted to biodiesel, so cars can run on it. As seen from above, The Neighborhood Group does a great deal to benefit both society and the environment. Even their napkins are 100% recycled and biodegradable (unlike some that are actually dyed brown to appear recycled!)


Interview

Bob Desautels, Founder

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The Neighbourhood Group

The Neighbourhood Group

Guelph, Ontario, CA

Business Website: http://www.neighbourhoodgroup.com

Year Founded: 1990

Number of Employees: 201 to 500

The Neighbourhood Group of Companies is a certified B Corporation that leads fascinating restaurant sustainability innovations. Each unique restaurant operates through sustainable practices, with a focus on local food and beverages within Guelph and Kitchener.