Barcelona Sustainable Gastronomy, cooking the future together

27th June 2024

Success Stories

Barcelona Sustainable Gastronomy, cooking the future together

Barcelona is a city that satisfies even the most demanding palates, and now it aims to win over visitors not only through their stomachs, but also via a values-based culinary project. That’s why Visa, Turisme de Barcelona and Biosphere, three international leaders in the area of sustainability and responsible tourism, have launched a very ambitious project: Barcelona Sustainable Gastronomy.

It has a clear goal: to make Barcelona the city with most sustainable restaurants in the world. This initiative, through a guide and a seal for establishments that meet certain social-responsibility criteria, aims to recognise restaurants’ efforts to promote the city’s international image, while also showcasing them to the millions of visitors the city receives every year.

These organisations have therefore created the Barcelona Sustainable Gastronomy seal, which is exclusively awarded to restaurants committed to sustainability which work to improve their practices in this regard.

Restaurants interested in earning the seal will have the support and backing of the Biosphere team, which will help them to implement the measures needed to become a beacon of sustainability and join this project with an international scope. This will also expand the network of city establishments that have joined Biosphere, a step that demonstrates Barcelona City Council’s strong commitment to sustainability. In fact, Barcelona is the only destination in the world to receive the Biosphere Platinum certification.

While the seal will be displayed in the establishments so that visitors can identify their commitment at a glance, the Sustainable Restaurants Guide will be part of a larger promotional campaign for Barcelona’s tourism and restaurants, providing visibility in the digital sphere.

To earn the seal and be included in the guide, a restaurant must be run in line with the UN’s seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, among other requirements: the restaurant must offer healthy and inclusive food, follow responsible purchasing policies, foster the use of sustainable transport and implement initiatives that reduce its carbon footprint. The Guide also values participation in social initiatives that promote polices fostering equal opportunities and empowerment for women. In this way, the project seeks a comprehensive commitment to the community and the planet, with the aim of improving sustainability in all areas.

A growing concern

The guide and seal will help the millions of tourists who visit Barcelona every year to identify best practices in regard to sustainability and social involvement when choosing which establishments to visit during their stay, something which is becoming increasingly important to them.

According to Eduardo Prieto, the CEO of Visa in Spain, tourists are “becoming more and more environmentally aware when choosing where to visit or where they eat, which means that it is essential for local businesses to be prepared, in order to offer an optimal experience”. According to the 2022 Profile and Habits of Tourists in Barcelona City Results Report, produced by Visa and the Barcelona Tourism Observatory, 87% of visitors report that they plan to implement sustainable practices while travelling, and 33% are willing to pay more for sustainable services, another example of the growing demand in this area.

The Barcelona Sustainable Gastronomy initiative also addresses another trend observed among international tourists, for whom food is one of the highlights of their visits to the Catalan capital, and the category where they spend the most money. This is why Barcelona Sustainable Gastronomy contributes to the city’s economic and social development, while also seeking to give back to restaurants in recognition of everything they have done for Barcelona’s international image and its food.

This 2024 project was presented in January, as part of FITUR. Its initial pilot phase included 30 restaurants. Now, Barcelona Sustainable Gastronomy is continuing to cement Barcelona’s place as a leading sustainable destination on a global scale. And thanks to the active participation of restaurants and the promoting organisations, Barcelona is the best example of how sustainability can also be a synonymous with quality and business success.

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