Le Gouvernement du Grand-Duché du Luxembourg
Green Team - Cocottes

Cocottes’ carbon footprint assessment: A quantifiable leap towards sustainability

The restaurant chain has completed the Fit 4 Sustainability programme solidifying its commitment to a greener future. 13 crucial areas for improvement have been identified, and to ensure progress, a dedicated “green team” has been assigned to oversee the implementation of follow-up measures.

Right after the Fit 4 Sustainability programme was rolled out in October 2022, Cocottes acted swiftly and became one of the first companies to initiate an application with Luxinnovation, the national agency entrusted with implementing the programme. General Manager Clémentine Venck noted that since the restaurant chain’s establishment in 2014, it has remained steadfast in its commitment to environmentally responsible practices. This eco-conscious philosophy forms the very foundation of the company’s identity across its 18 locations and production facility in Luxembourg, employing approximately 300 people.

For us, it is a matter of knowing how to inscribe the company’s economic activities in a sustainable way.

Cocottes chose to work with CO2 Strategy Luxembourg, a carbon consulting company, to conduct an in-depth analysis of their environmental impact and crafted a customised action plan during the programme. Ms. Venck noted that although the company had always been mindful of the impact of its business practices, they sought a quantifiable measurement to gauge progress and track improvements year after year. This led the brand to enrol in Luxinnovation’s Fit 4 Sustainability programme, which provides Luxembourg companies with personalised recommendations on their ecological transition, regardless of their size or sector, through the invaluable support of expert consultants. The Ministry of the Economy subsidises consultant fees by up to 70%, depending on the company’s size.

Why did you decide on a conducting a carbon footprint assessment?

Clémentine Venck: Ever since Cocottes was founded, we’ve always had this eco-consciousness in our DNA from an operations perspective in terms of recycling and waste management, but also in our approach to employees and customers. But we wanted to measure our performance to see if we were going in the right direction. The decision to conduct a carbon footprint assessment was a good starting point. It provided a clear snapshot of our current state and enabled us to pinpoint areas with the highest emissions. We have taken up several aspects of CSR, and this was another way of providing good support for the environment.

We wanted to measure our performance to see if we were going in the right direction.

When this initiative was introduced as a management decision, it sparked genuine enthusiasm among the teams. We were delighted by this positive response and decided to embrace the opportunity wholeheartedly. As time went by, the enthusiasm continued to grow. While some team members saw it as a way to learn, others saw it as a great chance to contribute to improving our company’s environmental impact through thoughtful reflection and proactive actions. We received excellent support from Luxinnovation, making the setup quite straightforward. The consultant who assisted us with the calculations happened to have played a key role in constructing our production facility. This close previous working relationship built a strong bond and trust between us.


How did the programme unfold, and how were the teams structured?

The programme involved multiple teams working together. We first needed more information from the financial and accounting department, so our CFO took charge of that aspect. With the help of a trainee from the same department, they collected the necessary data. Later, each department was approached to provide specific information related to their operations, such as production, delivery, sales, and human resources. We studied all the production process and used a typical shop to give us an idea of the other 17 shops.

The programme involved multiple teams working together.

Once we had all the data, the consultant analysed it and provided us with an initial carbon footprint diagnosis. Based on the findings, we formed three working groups comprising 8 to 10 members from different departments. In these groups, we discussed the areas with the most significant impact and generated creative ideas to address them. We identified 13 improvement areas, with five requiring further exploration and planning.

Are there any axes of improvement that you consider the most crucial, and how do you plan to proceed?

At the moment, we have been focused on optimising our logistics, bearing in mind that our refrigerated vehicles have to guarantee certain food temperatures. We have also optimised our delivery circuit to minimise the number of round trips between our production site and points of sale. We also looked at the composition of recipes. We noticed that although 40% of the products purchased are low-carbon impact fruit and vegetables, they only contribute to 10% of emissions, whereas meat, which accounts for 6% of purchases, accounts for 36% of emissions. So we have to ask ourselves how we can modify or transform some of the recipes that include beef, while retaining the quality, freshness and flavours our customers love. In January, we launched a plant-based campaign to show that it's possible to cook a wide range of tasty recipes using fruit, vegetables, legumes, seeds...

A “green team” has been formed to support these working groups.

For some identified measures, it was already very clear what we can put in place in the near future. We have some other initiatives that we need to explore further, as they may be subject to technical constraints or require a different approach in our daily business. To achieve this, we have planned the formation of five groups, and we’ve already communicated the list and themes to the employees, inviting them to sign up to the groups that interest them. A “green team” has been formed to support these working groups. This team will oversee the implementation of these initiatives, raise staff awareness, and most importantly, gather innovative ideas from the field. Our intention is to foster a bottom-up approach. In just three hours after our invitation to form these groups, nearly 10% of our employees had eagerly volunteered, which is truly remarkable.

Are there any projects related to energy efficiency that you are considering?

Well, there are all the little things we do on a day-to-day basis that have a big cumulative impact. It’s funny that since the teams have been made aware of this, I regularly receive emails when things aren’t done properly or could be improved. We are also exploring the installation of solar panels at our production facility. Additionally, we will be studying our energy consumption and refrigeration systems to see if everything is in line with our strategy.... and if there are certain machines that we can run more slowly when less busy, for example. Tackling these projects will be essential for a successful implementation.

Photo credit: provided by Cocottes

Need more information?

Find out more about the Fit 4 Sustainability programme managed by Luxinnovation and how to apply.
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