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  • Earth Day at Searcys: Looking at our ESG Strategy

    22 April 2024

    To mark this year’s Earth Day, we are sharing our progress in delivering our three-year strategy, that guides our environmental, social and governance (ESG) priorities and builds on our sustainability pledges that have gained Searcys two top three-star Sustainable Restaurant Association accreditations (2020, 2023).

    Searcys Managing Director, Paul Jackson, comments “With over 175 years of hospitality experience in the capital and beyond, Searcys aims to lead the way in making a positive change within our industry. Our ESG strategy has been developed around the key principles of our business with a three-year plan outlining the company’s goals and measurable actions. Our strategy’s name, Second Nature, is exactly that – we are working to build on our achievements to ensure that principles and behaviours become second nature to all our people across the Searcys business. We will continuously monitor and report on our progress to ensure we achieve our targets and positively impact our people, society and the planet.”

    Searcys ESG strategy, Second Nature, was launched in 2023, with regular progress updates and impact reports scheduled throughout to track its goals. It is focused on a framework of four pillars:

    Inclusion by Design

    Creating an inclusive workplace where all employees can thrive, ensuring diversity and inclusion is represented at all levels. Key KPIs include increasing the gender and ethnic diversity representation in leadership roles to 40% by 2027, alongside creating mentoring and reverse mentoring programmes and networks to nurture and support talent within the company.

    Check out some of our milestones:

    • Earlier in 2023, Searcys signed to Race in the Workplace Charter to ensure that we create inclusive workplaces where everyone can thrive, and launched the Ethnicity Pay Gap report later in 2024. Cyril Gidigbi from One Moorgate Place is the first graduate of Ethnic Future Leaders Programme.
    • We are delighted to report that we reached our benchmark of 40% females in leadership roles in the end of 2023, and the number of female venue General Managers has increased by 50%.
    • We are committed to being a Menopause Friendly Employer. This means that we aim to change mindsets and attitudes towards menopause, making it easy to talk about. We want everyone to know how to support colleagues, friends and family.
    • In 2023, we became the Disability Confident Employer removing barriers, increase understanding and ensure that disabled people have every opportunity to fulfil their potential. We keep welcoming neuro-diverse members of staff to our business.
    • As the start of 2024, Searcys, in partnership with our sister brands Portico and Benugo launched a dedicated Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee Enlight to celebrate the diversity of our colleagues. The primary goal of Enlight is to ensure that every team member feels valued, supported, and respected, regardless of their race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and all aspects of their identity.

    Contributing to the charities close to our hearts and to the communities we operate in, ourSearcys cycling team has completed its 2023 fundraising tour by presented a donation of £22,257.00 (three cheques of £7,419 each) to our three nominated charities: The Hotel School, Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Adopt a School Trust and JUST ONE Tree. This year’s Tour de Searcys took them over 320 miles from London to Epernay in Champagne, France. This is the second Tour, the first one organised last year, to mark our 175th birthday, when the team cycled from London to Bath, covering 175km between our venues.

    Nurturing and Growing Talent

    As part of Searcys commitment to help its people grow and succeed to become an employer of choice in hospitality, Second Nature will focus on the development of all of its team members. This includes providing learning opportunities for all employees beyond mandatory requirements with at least 15 hours of training per year, and offering access to medical, financial and nutritional advice for all. Targets include narrowing the gender pay and bonus gap below 10% by 2027, alongside increasing underrepresented groups on leadership programmes by 30% by 2025.

    Last year, our focus was in shaping our colleagues’ journey from the moment they start with us, so we have conducted:

    • 18 “introduction to Searcys” in-person sessions for 269 new starters
    • 4 Searcys Champagne & Wine Academy and 4 Coffee Academy sessions
    • New sessions included Leadership foundations, Train to Train and Briefing Skills
    • Working with our coffee roasters we created a training programme to get members from all Searcys sites into HQ for coffee training. The sessions include the crop to cup journey as well as training on how to make delicious espresso-based drinks, how to pour latte art and how to clean and maintain the equipment to get the best out of it.
    • In total Extract team has hosted over 40 training sessions across dozens of different Searcys sites so far this year, including pre-launch training and launch day help for new sites, such as the National Portrait Gallery!
    • We also believe team bonding is essential and therefore held its Searcys annual Family Day last year, inviting our staff to come along with their loved ones for food, drink, music and games at one of our beautiful venues. This year’s event saw over 550 guests of Searcys employees and their families attend for a Mediterranean feast, complete with bouncy castle, caricature artist, painting competition, live band and traditional British fete games.

    Just some of the ways we are supporting the team includes the introduction of improved benefits, from up to 38 days of annual leave, enhanced maternity and paternity payments. Mental wellbeing is also a key driver; therefore, all team members have access to a 24/7 employee assistance programme, in-house mental health first aiders and access to gym discounts.

    Progressive Partnerships

    For Searcys supply chain, we aim to continue to raise the bar on its sourcing standards. This will run across all elements of the business, from reducing the emission impact of Searcys signature dishes by 30% by 2026 and ensuring plant-based dishes make up at least 25% of our menus, to using 100% cotton uniforms from certified sustainable sources, and exclusively using FSC-certified wood and paper products by end of 2025. We have also introduced the pledge to achieve Red Tractor standards for all fresh meat by end of 2025 and buy 100% of liquid milk directly from UK dairy farmers who are meeting RSPCA Assured standards.

    A couple of examples of our new suppliers introduced in 2023-24:

    • By end 2024 all our shell eggs will be 100% RSPCA free-range. Choosing RSPCA Assured free-range eggs means supporting farms that provide hens with enrichment objects and comfortable environments. Free-range hens have daytime outdoor access, safe and spacious barns at night, and conditions that allow for natural behaviour. Hens in a free-range system have space to roost, with a maximum of nine hens per square metre of usable indoor space. We buy our eggs from two amazing producers: Chippendales, a long-term partner, and St Ewe, our newest partnership. Both are award winning, both are focused on the highest animal welfare standards, and both are working on carbon reduction.

    Wildfarmed has become our new supplier of flour, that uses the grains that have grown in on the farms that prioritise soil health, have embraced regenerative approach to farm biodiversity and soil health. Wildfarmed white flour increases carbon capture in the soil, is produced without pesticides, increases biodiversity and contains more antioxidants.

    The ‘wildfarming’ method involves sowing seeds directly into grass, growing different plants side-by-side, bringing grazing animals onto the fields and never tilling the soil or spoiling it with pesticides and heavy machinery. Together, this method produces resilient, nutritious crops while constantly improving the soil and surrounding ecosystem. The flour on offer uses heritage and new varieties of grain, favouring taller varieties to allow them to grow higher than their companion plants, choosing the best on farm-by-farm basis. For harvest 2023, the company worked with over 50 farms across the UK and France.


    This pillar outlines the framework for reducing Searcys’ impact on the climate with the ultimate target to achieve net zero across the entire group by 2040. This will be achieved through a ‘Step Up’ goals protocol, which includes minimising food waste, eliminating all avoidable single-use packaging and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy saving tactics and recycling. Searcys is pledging to reduce food waste by 20% by end of 2024 from a 2023 baseline pro-rated and eliminate all waste to landfill (from directly controlled sources) by 2030.

    In 2023, we have introduced carbon calculators for our menus, that have been trialled in a number of event venues.

    As our ESG journey continues, please follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram for more updates.

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