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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Luxury members club to go plastic free

Soho house is one of the world’s first beneficiaries of A Plastic Planet’s Commitment Mark, ‘Working Towards Plastic Free’

Soho House

They are the self-proclaimed “plastic addicts” who have vowed to campaign until food and drink is no longer sold in plastic.

A Plastic Planet is a social impact, non-profit dedicated to reducing – and eradicating – single-use plastic. It triggered the world’s first plastic-free shopping aisle. As part of the lobby group’s latest campaign, the upmarket hotel and restaurant chain SOHO House has become one of the first adopters of an initiative to reduce the hospitality sector’s dependence on plastic. The luxury members’ club chain has signed up to A Plastic Planet programme named ‘Working Towards Plastic Free’, which sees a trust mark awarded to businesses that demonstrate “a serious and measurable approach” to reducing their plastics. The Commitment Mark comprises five headline assurances including undertaking a plastic audit across each of the company’s 23 venues around the world. A Plastic Planet Co-Founder Siân Sutherland said: “For more than two decades Soho House has consistently raised the bar across the world. They were perfect candidates to adopt our Commitment Mark, yet again setting a new standard that we all hope will one day be the new normal.”

Early in 2017, Sutherland and her co-founder, Frederikke Magnussen launched APP – and the campaign for A Plastic Free Aisle. In their own words, they were two self-confessed plastic addicts and “two unreasonable women” who could no longer stand still and watch what “we are all collectively doing to our oceans, our land and ultimately to our own health”. More than two years on, APP has become an army of like-minded passionate people, amassing experts across many relevant fields. In January 2018, UK Prime Minister Theresa May publicly backed its ‘Plastic Free Aisle’ campaign. The following month, the group made headlines around the world when it helped launch the world’s first plastic-free shopping aisle in Amsterdam, enabling consumers to choose from 700 everyday products void of plastic packaging. “We deserve an alternative. We believe supermarkets and brands will give us this choice if enough of us demand it,” said Sutherland who added: “We founded APP with a very simple goal – to ignite and inspire the world to turn off the plastic tap. But rather than talk about the problem and make people feel guilty, we show by example how change can happen.”

Soho House is another high-profile name to join the growing list of supporters. In 1995, restaurateur Nick Jones opened the first Soho House in London when a space above his modest French restaurant Café Boheme became free. Intended as a private members’ club for people in the creative industries, it later spread its wings when, in 2012, billionaire Ron Burkle bought a majority stake and helped finance its international expansion. The business has since opened clubs across Europe, North America and Asia, as well as restaurants, cinemas, workspaces and spas.

One of its most recent additions, the Little Beach House Barcelona (above), will be at the heart of the chain’s global efforts to reduce plastic, acting as a test bed for plastic-free solutions, working as a template for sister venues and eventually, the entire hospitality sector.

“We have been so impressed at the personal drive to reduce plastic from CEO level to every member of the team,” said Sutherland. “Having already visited Mumbai and both houses in Barcelona, we know a whole new plastic-free experience is soon going to await their members.”

Soho House Chief Communications and Strategy Officer Peter Chipchase added: “In creating a home from home for our members, we want to ensure our business does right by our planet.”

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