The Assemblies Ltd have been members of the Sustainable Restaurant Association since 2012, following best practices across three pillars. People, Planet & Profit. Since 2017 we have proudly achieved and maintained the highest possible rating for each submission, a coveted 3 stars, which has been a true reflection of our commitment to sustainable practices. We have regularly made the SRA’s top 20 list within the UK and we were delighted to be shortlisted for the r200 2022 Sustainable Group of the Year in 2022.

We have, in 2023, achieved an incredible 3-star rating in the Food Made Good Standard. We managed to score an impressive 92% across our group, The Assemblies. With our three venues, The Canteen, No.1 Harbourside and The Old Market Assembly we are breaking ground in the hospitality sphere. Our 2023 highlights are:

✅ Net Zero Now – We’ve been accredited as “on the road” to Net Zero, calculating our carbon and educating our teams on the importance of minimising our environmental impact.

✅ Sourcing – Continuing to work with our great wealth of Southwest producers and develop our menus seasonally, with lots of plant-based options.

✅ Society: Hosting workshops, free live music and supporting artists by giving them a platform to develop their talent across all our spaces.

When The Assemblies started out in 2009 with our first venue, The Canteen, we wanted to do everything we could to create change, lower our impact and support our local economy, suppliers, and community. No.1 Harbourside opened in 2010 and The Old Market Assembly followed in 2015. Now with three venues, our vision has continued as we’ve grown. Our mission is “To create beautiful sustainable venues with ethical practices. Celebrating and supporting Bristol’s communities and economy through quality food, drink, and entertainment.” From sourcing producers growing down the road, aiming for zero-waste kitchens and dedicated charity nights, we want to help where we can. 

PEOPLE

We fulfilled our commitment to pay all our team the real Living Wage. This was something that was raised back in 2019. Following the COVID years, it became a reality, raising pay for many of our employees. In 2023 we celebrated our 1 year anniversary and raised the pay rate across all our members of staff. 

More recently, we have reduced all full-time salaried staff to 40 hour weeks, with no cut to pay. Giving our team a much healthy work-life balance. All our part-time staff also work no more than 40 hours per week. This is ground-breaking within hospitality and something we are very proud of. 

We are signed up to the international visa scheme. Enabling us to sponsor applicants from Europe and around the world widening our diversity within our kitchens and front-of-house team. We have as of 2023 been taking on people from neuro-diverse backgrounds to work in our kitchens. Gaining vital work experience, gaining confidence to go into full-time employment. And we are currently in the progress of working with apprenticeships within the kitchens, through City of Bristol College.

COMMUNITY

As the Assemblies and individual venues, we regularly donate funds raised from sales of dedicated menu items to local, national, and international charities. Including The Wardrobe Theatre (supporting local fringe theatre). Bristol Mind, (a mental health charity working with LGBTQ+ and Transline), and Love Food Give Food (an international charity working with food poverty across the world). We also have a TAP portal installed at one of our venues, raising money for Bristol homeless charity, Caring in Bristol.

We are a founder member and supporter of the Bristol City Business Improvement District (Funded by a percentage of rates contribution) developing local initiatives to promote a safe nighttime economy that benefits local residents through increased expenditure on additional policing, safe taxis, and street cleaning as well as general cooperation between business owners and residents.

PLANET

Our menus are meticulously written to work with seasonal and local in mind. Controlling wastage; from the use of vegetables and mindful selection of meat cuts right through to plating and portion control. We use the majority of our veg trimmings, for example, to make gravy, stock, soup, or garnishes. Working closely with our key suppliers we secure written agreements that favour local, or British produce. Sourced from no more than a 100 miles radius from Bristol. Committed to high welfare animal standards, responsibly sourced seafood, and ethical trade commitments to a specified standard. We require environmental & land management commitments from each of our suppliers.

We are part of Bristol Good Food 2030 and have Bristol Eating Better Gold Awards across our three sites. Establishing us as offering healthy, nutritious food that uses less salts, sugars and saturated fats. The BEBA award assesses all aspects of the food business from cooking methods, preserving methods & maintaining best practice. We always aim to put the vegan and veggie options at the forefront of our menus. Encouraging customers to explore our healthier vegetarian options.

CHANGE

Recent impactful changes we are proud of; during lockdown part a million and three we moved The Canteen to an all veggie and vegan menu. This was in step with our changing consumer behavior and has been embraced by all our guests. It has meant we can be even more mindful of where our food comes from and where it goes. Also highlighted in our carbon emissions report, and what an impact this can make in reducing our output. 

We are committed separators and recyclers of all waste. We encourage our suppliers to take packaging away with them if they are unable to deliver in reusable containers. Working on zero-waste kitchen streams, our food & coffee waste is anaerobically digested. We only use sustainably farmed rapeseed oil in our kitchens, which is then recycled into BioFuel. By January 2019 we had removed single-use plastic in the form of plastic straws and have greatly reduced our cling film/single-film plastic use. We’re licensed to use plastic cups during gigs, and in 2023 have moved to use reusable festival-style cups in all our venues to eliminate single-use entirely. 

SUSTAINABLE PRODUCERS

As venues, we champion our great wealth of local producers. From market gardens down the road to carbon-negative stills in the city centre. Championing ethically sourced organic coffee beans from an award-winning Bristol roastery, organic semi-skimmed dairy milk from Somerset, and Oat Milk from carbon neutral Minor Figures or locally sourced Rogue Oat. Recent additions to the menus include Three Hares Market Garden Farm and Tempeh Meades. Chosen for being great tasting, great looking products that are based within miles of our venues. Both operate fairly, ethically, and give back to the communities from which they come. We launched Spirit of Bristol in 2022, with a move to serving only Bristol-produced spirits. This champions our local spirits suppliers by offering their products for less than an alternative “house” spirit. 

NET ZERO COMMITMENT

In 2022 we also launched, as one of the very first in the UK, carbon emission information on our menu. In 2023 we have been accredited as “on the journey to net zero” through Net Zero Now. Setting a 5% a year reduction plan to lower our carbon footprint over 5 years initially. 

From 2023 we appointed a new Head of Sustainability. They will dedicate time to ensuring our sourcing policies are up to date and adhered to. And seek out further opportunities for us to reduce our impact on the planet. We have changed a few of our beer lines ensuring a much bigger percentage is coming from the city centre. Lots more to follow! 

PROFIT 

Our people, planet, profit ethos balances having a healthy planet, healthy staff & healthy profit margins. Otherwise, we would be unable to operate and be part of a forward-thinking hospitality community. We cannot be fully perfect and are always on a journey to improve our practices, without breaking the bank. Making The Assemblies sustainable.