Update from the star-studded launch of a new chain of sustainable restaurants.
On the evening of April 14th, WRI filled a role not normally reserved for environmental think tanks: VIP guest at a high-profile New York restaurant opening. Otarian, now open in New York City’s West Village, is a new boutique fast-casual restaurant chain based on the principles of sustainability and vegetarianism. Otarian is also the first global restaurant chain to track the carbon footprint of all of its menu items.
“I am putting myself out there and standing behind my statement that Otarian is the world’s most sustainable chain of restaurants,” said Radhika Oswal, owner and creator of Otarian. “The sustainability of Otarian comes from all aspects of the restaurant, from the way we have decorated, to the ingredients, and much much more.”
WRI Managing Director Manish Bapna, Otarian Owner Radhika Oswal, and WRI Board Member Todd Thomson
Otarian is one of over seventy organizations road testing WRI and WBSCD’s new GHG Protocol standard on Product Life Cycle accounting. This participation will help diners better understand the environmental impact of their food choices in a highly measureable and quantifiable way. The product standard measures the emissions from all parts of a product’s lifecycle. For example, an Otarian VegO burger represents 1.32kg of CO2-equivalent, taking into account the growing, harvesting, and processing of all the ingredients, as well as transportation, packaging, sale and waste disposal.
Around 60 people were in attendance at the Otarian launch. The vibe was intimate and buzzing, the small space packed with a crowd including celebrities, media, influencers and owner Radhika Oswal accompanied by her husband Pankaj Oswal.
The menu at Otarian
Manish Bapna, Managing Director of WRI, attended the event alongside WRI Director Todd Thomson. Manish was invited by Mrs. Oswal to give the only speech of the night after she delivered her welcome and thanks. “We are delighted that Otarian is so dedicated to the cause of measuring the footprint of its food products. A lot of big companies recognize the business case behind measuring and managing emissions, they see that it can improve their profitability,” said Manish. “There are a few organizations, however, that also recognize the need to make a low carbon economy a reality. Otarian is in this category.”
Celebrity guests included Mary Kate Olsen, a regular on the New York scene and star of many movies and TV shows alongside her twin sister Ashley Olsen. Vanessa Williams and Mark Indelicato from the ABC TV show ‘Ugly Betty’ attended along with Judah Friedlander from the popular NBC TV show ‘30 Rock’.
WRI's Laura Pocknell with 30 Rock's Judah Friedlander
“I wanted to attend tonight to set precedence for others to uphold and follow suit. I’m very happy that restaurants like Otarian are the new trend.” said Vanessa Williams. Mark Indelicato added “my eyes were opened to vegetarianism and sustainability by Ana Ortiz, who plays my Mom on Ugly Betty. I was shocked to find out that the methane cows emit is a bigger polluter than emissions from planes or trains.” “I’m here tonight because it’s very important to protect the earth,” said Judah Friedlander about what the opening of Otarian means to him. “It is not only good, but important to eat tasty, sustainable food like Otarian is offering.”
For more information about the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the road-testing process, visit https://www.ghgprotocol.org.