The Bay Fish & Chips in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, is the highest-rated fish and chip shop accredited by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Sustainability champion and owner Calum Richardson (pictured) and his team have a reputation for leading the way on sustainability initiatives. The business runs on 100% renewable energy and all its suppliers are selected with sustainability in mind, with 90% of produce sourced within 50 miles of the shop. Customers at the Bay will only be served fish from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accredited stocks, and the Bay is the first fish and chip shop in the UK to gain the MSC Chain of Custody to sell North Sea haddock.

Visit, or more recently during the Covid-19 lockdown, order a takeaway, and diners can choose the catch of the day, bought from the fish market that morning. Fish are either wild or from sustainable farms and chips are supplied by environmentally committed supplier Woody’s Chips, with starch from the potatoes collected and sent to a Scottish pig farmer for feed. Herbs used in the tartare sauce are grown by the Bay.

Richardson has long used Vegware, which supplies 100% compostable packaging, and all the restaurant’s food waste is recycled and composted an hour away, with non-food waste recycled to minimise landfill. The cleaning products are environmentally friendly and staff are educated and tested on their sourcing policy from the first day on the job. Even rotas, contracts and invoices are paper-free, using technologies from Navitas, SafetyNet, Planday and Billdu.

The business has grown from zero turnover to £1.5m in 14 years. In January the restaurant invested £250,000 in a significant refit, a large portion of that dedicated to sustainability. Updates include a new state-of-the-art, zero-emission fryer with 97% gas efficiency, purpose-built sinks that are shallower to reduce water wastage, new fridges that eliminate unused space, and new motion-activated lighting, which has been installed to cut down electricity use. The Bay will soon receive its fourth CO2 audit by the University of St Andrews to establish what the business has achieved since the refit.

The Bay Fish & Chips has led the way and inspired many other businesses and Richardson continues to push the sustainability message across fish and chip restaurants and the wider hospitality audience.

What the judges said

“Their achievements exemplify the adage: ‘what gets measured gets managed’. The result has been to show how good environmental performance can enhance short-term viability and longer-term success.” – Dominic Burbridge

“Their actions and initiatives would have been impressive if they were taken by a large corporation. Calum seems to live and breathe his business. He demonstrates initiatives that so many of us could learn from: the CO2 audits, using his own herbs in his tartare sauce, his continued use of the best fish suppliers, his mentoring, paying the living wage, and using shallow sinks to reduce water usage. This is a very strong winner.” – Phil Roker

The shortlist

  • The Bay Fish & Chips, Stonehaven, Aberdeen
  • The Langham, London
  • Palé Hall, Bala, Gwynedd
  • The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO)

The judges

  • Dominic Burbridge, associate director, the Carbon Trust
  • Rebecca Hawkins, managing director, Responsible Hospitality Partnership
  • Alison Shedlock, assistant director, estates and facilities, and head of campus services, University of Manchester
  • Phil Roker, managing director, Vacherin

Sponsored by Coca-Cola European Partners