Save the planet on the low-carbon diet

At Otarian, menus have a feelgood global-warming index. A gimmick, or the next step in ethical eating?

It was only a matter of time. We've had organic vegan restaurants; eateries that only have raw uncooked food and Fairtrade bistros. Now comes a restaurant offering a menu aimed at saving the planet from climate change.

Otarian claims to be the first restaurant where each item on the all-vegetarian menu has its carbon footprint published alongside the price and carbon cost of the meat equivalent.

The brainchild of one of the world's richest women, Indian billionaire Radhika Oswal, it opens in London next month, hoping to capitalise on a burgeoning consumer demand for all things green.

Sales of low-carbon and environmental goods and services are now worth an estimated £106.5bn in Britain alone – part of a global market worth an estimated £3,046bn. Unsurprisingly, companies are rushing to cash in. But just last month, Which?, formerly the Consumers' Association, condemned what it called "greenwash", where companies make misleading claims about the environmental friendliness of products.

The owners of Otarian are one of India's wealthiest families whose business interests include Burrup Fertlisers, one of the world's biggest producers of liquid ammonium, a pollutant that can kill if ingested and is used primarily as a base ingredient for the production of fertilisers and explosives.

Dan Welch, co-editor of Ethical Consumer magazine, said: "Highlighting the climate change impact of our unsustainable diet, especially meat eating, is laudable. But there's a deep irony in the link to Burrup, one of the world's major manufacturers of the feedstock of chemical fertilisers."

Scientists have warned that nature can't cope with the million tons of chemical fertiliser used annually – acidifying soils, killing vulnerable species and creating what he called "dead zones in the sea".

This inconvenient truth is brushed aside by Radhika Oswal, a billionaire and lifelong vegetarian. "It doesn't mean that if you are doing something good that all parts of you have got to be good. I believe the world needs fertilisers to feed the population there is today," she said.

Instead, the Otarian founder is on a crusade to educate people about the carbon savings they can make by cutting meat out of their diet. She has invested millions in what she admits is more of a personal passion than a business venture.

Celebrity chefs including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver are among those who have pursued the green pound, with their enthusiastic promotion of home-grown ingredients and locally sourced produce paying handsome dividends in book sales. Raymond Blanc and Antonio Carluccio are among those who have signed up to the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) which was launched last March in a bid to make restaurants more environmentally friendly, and, of course, as a marketing tool.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

    £25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager

    £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator

    £25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator A...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent