Pret a Manger, United Kingdom

Pret A Manger is a UK-based fast food chain with a twist: sandwiches and salads are made in-house throughout each day using natural, preservative-free ingredients. In an industry full of big sandwich factories, and bland, highly processed foods, Pret’s unique formula is redefining the traditional wisdom on fast food – and its success is turning more than a few heads in the business world.

The first Pret A Manger restaurant opened in London in 1986, with college friends Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe creating the sort of food they craved but couldn’t find anywhere else. By 1992, the friends had expanded their operations to three sandwich shops, and their business formula was beginning to click. Today, Pret operates 150 shops, with nearly 4,000 employees, and turns over close to 180 million Euros each year.

By 2005, Pret’s management was ready to expand Pret’s core values of fresh food to pursue sustainability all aspects of its operations, from packaging to energy use. Pret asked The Natural Step, a recognized leader in strategic sustainability, to help the company envision a sustainable future and take strategic steps towards it.

Today, the company’s ‘charity run,’ a service that delivers fresh meals to numerous homeless shelters throughout London, is diverting nearly four tones of wasted food from landfills and providing 12,000 meals to people each week. By investing in electric vans for their regular charity run deliveries, Pret is reducing its CO2 emissions by more than three tonnes. Reductions in packaging material save more than eight tonnes of waste each year, and Pret now sources all of its electricity from 100% renewable sources.

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