It is commendable when South African businesses operate with an environmentally-friendly policy, and even more so when food businesses do so, as it is harder for them to do so.

A company that is pushing “Going Green” to the limit is the St Elmo’s pizza chain, which is proudly environmentally friendly, and tells its customers about it in its fliers:

1.   St Elmo’s says it uses “alien water-thirsty” Port Jackson and Black Wattle wood to burn in its woodfired pizza ovens.   This prevents indigenous trees from being chopped down unnecessarily, and helps to save water.

2.   The menus are printed on eco-friendly paper – Sappi’s Triple Green paper is made from “sustainable sources”, its flier says. 

3.   Food suppliers are selected on the basis of their concern for the environment, e.g. Parmalat

4.   The mozarella cheese used in the St Elmo’s pizzas is of superior quality, and does not contain antibiotics, nor are rBST-hormones fed to supplier cows to make them produce more milk.

5.   The business partners of St Elmos “are as passionate about caring for the environment as we are.   In fact, they are implementing some innovative “greening” initiatives”, but they are not specified on the flier – on the website they are listed as Mondi, Coca Cola, and Sappi.

6.   St Elmo’s claims to improve its carbon footprint by using less energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but they do not specify how they do this on the flier.   On the website extensive detail is provided and hints given how the company, but also consumers, can become more green, e.g. using energy-saving bulbs, watering plants with water used to boil eggs, separating garbage, turning off the oven 10 minutes before the food is due to be cooked, and switching off electric appliances, even computers, overnight.    

7.   The pizza boxes and serviettes are recyclable, and the pizza boxes are printed with non-toxic inks, making them safe and suitable for recycling.

On its website, St Elmo’s goes into far more details about how green it is, and refers to its tree-planting projects at the Marconi Beam Primary School, and in the Milnerton area, in accordance to its Green slogan: “Money does not grow on trees, but it can help us plant them”.  Each St Elmo’s store has donation boxes for the change to go towards buying more trees, to be distributed via Food & Trees for Africa. 

For further details, see

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: