By creating the first French sustainable restaurant certification, Fanny is committed to reducing the environmental impact of the food industry while promoting eco-responsible, virtuous, and profitable practices.
Photo: courtesy of Fanny Giansetto
Fanny is a lawyer and doctoral student who has always been dedicated to environmental protection. She joined the initiative that sued the French government over climate inaction - which is the most signed petition in France with 2 million signatories. After long studies and research on corporate responsibility, Fanny was anguished by the dysfunctions of our times and felt the need to take action. That’s when her career was about to take a turn. Having become aware of the impact of food on the planet, Fanny co-founded Écotable, which began in 2019. Today, Écotable is the first French certification that aims to rate restaurants on their eco-responsibility as well as supporting them in their ecological transition. The certification now brings together 150 labeled restaurants throughout France and continues to grow.
Welcome Fanny to Chefs for Impact!
By Fanny Giansetto as told to Chefs for Impact
Can you tell us how the idea of Écotable came up?
"I was at a time in my life where I felt overwhelmed by the climate and environmental issues the world was facing, and I was in a negative mood. I had to figure out how to turn it into positive energy. The idea came to me as I was eating at a restaurant.I remember being appalled by what I was eating and the lack of information around it. The idea was a certification that would allow the consumer to choose committed restaurants and learn more about the restaurant’s approach in general. Where do their products come from? How do they manage food waste? What is the percentage of organic products they are buying? Is local agriculture represented? etc. This is what motivated the creation of Écotable, co-founded in January 2019.”
What exactly is Écotable?
“Écotable is a certification that gives French consumers more transparency towards the practices of their restaurants. It also supports restaurants towards a more sustainable approach. Écotable is also a real community of committed industry players and service providers engaged in sustainable development.”
How do you audit the restaurants?
“We reference eco-responsible restaurants after evaluating their environmental impact. A questionnaire and an audit are carried out based on several criteria: supply, menu, health, recycling & waste management, communication, natural resources, ethics & social, non-food products (cleaning supplies etc.). The restaurant is therefore awarded one of the three certifications - defined by the organization - for a period of one year. Our goal is to accompany them towards the top level by offering consulting and training services as well as access to our network.”
How much does it cost the restaurant to be labeled Écotable?
"The annual membership fee is around $500, and it is renewable. The restaurant must be re-audited every year to ensure transparency towards the consumer.”
How has the project been welcomed by the restaurateurs?
"At first, we convinced ten restaurants to apply for the certification. It was difficult because we didn't yet have the legitimacy in the industry, as it was our first application. Most restaurateurs found that it made sense as it appeared to be a recognition of their sustainable approach within the gastronomic community. This kind of information is rarely found in the more traditional conventional guides, such as the Michelin Guide.”
Why not have partnered with existing guides to develop the Eco-responsible aspect?
"We didn't want to be a restaurant guide; we really wanted to show that a committed restaurant can be any kind of restaurant, ranging from street food to a triple Michelin starred restaurant. We don't judge taste, it's not our job.”
What’s your ultimate goal?
"I want to help the restaurant industry reduce its carbon footprint. If in 10 years I have succeeded in reducing the carbon impact of food and have made more people aware that eating in a restaurant is not as harmless as one might think, I will be happy. Of course, you have to keep the pleasure but do it in a conscious way.”
How do you manage to be involved in all your actions on a daily basis?
"I can easily describe myself as an activist. I have a very strong conviction and I have reached a point where I couldn't do anything but act. However, I also choose my fights. I realized that I can't be on all fronts and be constantly anxious or angry. What is certain is that today I feel in tune with my convictions!”
Learn more : https://ecotable.fr/fr