Do you ever feel like you can’t eat, drink or enjoy yourself without being told your behaviour is harming the environment, or that it’s ethically questionable?
Well, the next time you’re in London, get yourself down to The Green Vic.
The new pop-up bar in London’s hipster neighbourhood of Shoreditch is aiming to be the world’s most ethical pub.
“I wanted people to contribute to charity without changing their normal daily routine,” said owner Randy Rampersad.
“I thought, ‘If I’m going to run my own business, is it possible to make it as ethical as possible?’”
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Well, he’s certainly trying. Rampersad has three main ways in which he’s making the bar as ethical as possible.
“We employ vulnerable people: homeless, ex-offenders or army veterans. We also sponsor local charities and have a charity of the week,” he said, sitting at a table with a pile of flyers for a local dog rescue charity.
“We also use ethical suppliers, but for absolutely everything.”
He means everything.
The soap in the washrooms is made by people with disabilities and the toilet paper is made by a charity that benefits clean water projects in the developing world.
He’s even bypassed the current trend of using paper straws by using wheat stems instead.
“For me, paper straws weren’t the answer,” he said. “For the amount of energy it takes to produce a paper straw you could probably produce about a thousand plastic straws.
Rampersad pays a private company to make sure all of the pub’s waste gets recycled or composted.
He even plans to get the plastic wrapping from beer cases to be recycled into furniture for the pub.
Rampersad wants to make sure one in four of his staff members come from disadvantaged situations.
The pub DJ is Kin Soul, who previously experienced homelessness.
“As someone who was homeless I’m not going to stay here for two weeks, I’m going to stay here for two years kind of thing.”
Rampersad plans to be around for the long term too, but getting the pub off the ground wasn’t easy.
Potential investors were not convinced by his idea, so Rampersad put his own money on the line to fund a three-month pop-up location.
“I basically maxed out credit cards, got a little bit of money from friends or family,” he said.
“I got a small start-up loan for £15,000 ($24,500) and basically just put it all into this place.”
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Since opening in June, the pub has received lots of media attention, and on the afternoon that Global News came by, every table was booked for the evening.
Rampersad said he’s already convinced two investors to help him set up a permanent location nearby. That’s despite figures showing that London loses one pub every week as British drinking habits change.
“It’s not an easy industry to get into, but I definitely think there’s a gap in the market for this, and I definitely believe in it,” he said,
“That’s why I’ve gone all in to make it happen.”