KFC UK&I commits to becoming a net zero carbon business


Fried chicken restaurant, KFC, has today announced a brand-new set of sustainability commitments, as part of its new climate action strategy.

Today’s announcement lays out concrete commitments to become a circular zero waste business in food, packaging, and materials by 2035, as well as its ambition to become a net zero carbon business by 2040 or sooner, in line with the UK government’s plans to become net zero carbon by 2050.

To inform the fried chicken experts’ journey towards net zero carbon, KFC has entered an innovative partnership with University of Liverpool’s (UoL) Zero Carbon Research Institute – a global leader in its field – to create the KFC Zero Carbon Restaurant.

This pioneering R&D project will aim to make the restaurant of the future by bringing about transformational change across the entire KFC estate. Through this partnership, KFC and the UoL will explore the construction materials currently being used to build new restaurants and to refurbish existing ones, and will also consider the low carbon alternatives to further reduce the embodied carbon.

The KFC Zero Carbon Restaurant will enable KFC to make existing and new restaurants much more efficient through utilising available renewable energy and low carbon technologies. This will help KFC to tackle both the operational and embodied carbon footprint, as well as helping the business to investigate its Scope 3, value chain emissions.

To define the roadmap to achieve these ambitious new targets, KFC has also signed up to the British Retail Consortium’s net-zero roadmap for the retail sector, and is a founding member of the Zero Carbon Forum’s new coalition of hospitality businesses which are plotting a pathway to net-zero for the sector. Through these partnerships, KFC will hold themselves accountable whilst on their journey towards achieving net zero – proving that they are walking the walk, as well as squawking the squawk.

Paula MacKenzie, Managing Director, KFC UK&I: “It’s incumbent on us all to address the climate emergency and combat the long- and short-term effects of global warming on the environment and on people. Anything short of that will lead to failure, and I passionately believe that we cannot address the urgent action that’s needed in the world today without businesses pulling their weight and playing their part.

“That’s why we’re taking a stand and baking our climate action strategy into the core of our business – from supply chain through to our restaurants and our guests. And by partnering with the experts at the University of Liverpool, as well as working with the BRC and the Zero Carbon Forum, we are making sure we do all that we can to make the biggest impact and reach our net zero target.”

Dr Stephen Finnegan, Director and Founder, University of Liverpool Zero Carbon Research Institute: “It’s a real pleasure to work with one of the world’s leading Quick Service Restaurants in their aim to becoming Net Zero Carbon (NZC) by 2040. People will ask the obvious question: Is this even possible? Can a restaurant have no carbon impact? The answer to both questions is YES. We are addressing these questions and many more by taking the most scientific approach possible. Of course, KFC will have a carbon impact and this project, amongst many others underway within the business, is the first step in quantifying it. It will take time and considerable effort, but it will be worth it, and we are 100% sure that achieving NZC is possible.

“Working with partners, we will be assessing the entire supply chain of KFC’s business, building 3D models of the restaurant types and considering all possible carbon mitigation measures from energy optimisation, construction materials and renewable technologies. Together with KFC, we have a solid plan in place; and most importantly, we have a solid commitment from KFC. These are the key ingredients you need for success.”

Mark Chapman, CEO and Founder at Zero Carbon Forum said: “It is only through innovative partnerships and acknowledging the need to change that businesses can hope to make progress on their journey towards net-zero. And this is exactly what KFC is doing. Through this collaborative approach KFC UK&I will undoubtedly reach their stretching sustainability targets and we look forward to working with them over the coming weeks, months and years.”

These new commitments to fight climate change form one of the centrepieces of KFC’s new responsibility platform, Behind the Bucket, which brings together all of KFC’s social responsibility commitments around becoming a net positive business.