Shaftesbury Partners with Project Zero to Make Carnaby the Most Ocean-Friendly Destination in London

06 February 2020

Shaftesbury Partners with Project Zero to Make Carnaby the Most Ocean-Friendly Destination in London

06 February 2020

Shaftesbury, owner of Carnaby in London, has partnered with ocean conservation charity Project Zero to inspire the business community of Carnaby to take action to protect our oceans. In the first year of the Blue Turtle initiative, 50 restaurants, bars and cafés pledged to eliminate avoidable single-use plastics, reduce waste and source sustainable seafood. Carnaby businesses who completed audits and put action plans in place were awarded the Blue Turtle mark to display in their venue, helping customers make informed choices.

Key Facts

  • Helping protect our oceans
  • Engaging Carnaby occupiers and visitors
  • Supporting Shaftesbury’s sustainability goals and vision for Carnaby


Shaftesbury owns and manages a 15.2-acre property portfolio in the liveliest parts of London's West End, including over 325 restaurants, bars and cafés across the portfolio. The company is committed to minimising environmental impacts and engaging with the communities in which it operates.

In 2019, Shaftesbury developed the Blue Turtle initiative with ocean conservation charity Project Zero to inspire the restaurant, bar and café community of Carnaby to take action to protect the ocean and create a sustainable future for our planet.

The ocean is Earth’s life support system, comprising 70% of our planet’s surface and giving us every drop of water we drink and every second breath we take. Today, the ocean is under attack from climate change, overfishing and plastic pollution. Shaftesbury’s vision is for Carnaby to become the most ocean-friendly destination in London.


Shaftesbury and Project Zero developed the Blue Turtle mark of commitment to let people know that Carnaby eateries have met the criteria that help safeguard our planet's life support system, the ocean.

Shaftesbury recruited a dedicated Blue Turtle team for the first year of the programme to support occupiers and drive progress. They also created an ocean-friendly toolkit to provide occupiers with information on sourcing sustainable products, services and suppliers, as well as local regulations and hands-on support.

In the first year, 50 restaurants, bars and cafés in the Carnaby portfolio pledged to take action to protect our oceans:

  • Eliminating avoidable single-use plastic products, such as water bottles, straws, cutlery, takeaway containers, coffee cups and lids, food packaging, bowls and cups by 2022.
  • Providing and promoting free tap water access to all.
  • Reducing waste – minimising packaging and food waste, switching to reusable containers where possible, and engaging with customers and staff to increase recycling.
  • Sourcing only sustainable seafood – removing all endangered species from the menu, providing provenance information and ensuring all seafood comes from certified sustainable sources.

Representing over 70% of the restaurants in the Carnaby Village, the commitment from those that have adopted the Blue Turtle initiative has proven a solid platform to expand to other Villages in the portfolio.

Occupiers who committed to adopting a minimum of 12 ocean-friendly practices, carried out self-audits and put action plans in place were awarded a Blue Turtle mark to display in their venue. They are also training staff about the Blue Turtle initiative and sharing progress with the network. The Blue Turtle mark shows that an eatery is committed to being ocean-friendly and improving their practices, helping customers make informed decisions.

The Blue Turtle is run by Shaftesbury in collaboration with Project Zero and advised by an expert committee including: ZSL, OneLess, Leon, Veolia, A Plastic Planet and Blue Marine Foundation. Occupiers who have been awarded the Blue Turtle mark include: The Rum Kitchen, Crumbs & Doilies, Bread Ahead, Jinjuu, Pure, Pizza Pilgrims, PITTABUN, Le Bab, Wright Brothers, The Diner, Darjeeling Express, The Detox Kitchen, Chai by Mira, Dirty Bones, Cahoots, Whyte & Brown, Island Poke, Señor Ceviche, The Good Egg, Soho Grind and Farm Girl.

Michele Clarke, Founder of Project Zero, says: “The Blue Turtle is a way for people to identify restaurants, bars and cafés who have adopted ocean-friendly practices. We feel extraordinarily lucky to be working with Carnaby, who are absolutely the perfect partner in the best place in London to launch the Blue Turtle. Individual actions really matter so we’re thrilled to be taking this important step towards restoring the ocean.”

The Blue Turtle is part of Shaftesbury’s wider sustainability programme across the Group. Other recent projects include the installation of the first West End water fountain in Carnaby’s Kingly Court, which saved the equivalent of over 81,000 500ml plastic bottles in its first 18 months. The company also runs a successful food waste recycling programme in Carnaby, is building a dedicated waste and recycling facility in Chinatown, has strong community partnerships across the Group, and is greening its Villages for biodiversity and wellbeing, along with fellow members of Wild West End.


  • Helping protect our oceans by taking action to eliminate avoidable single-use plastics, reduce waste and source sustainable seafood, and empowering customers to make informed decisions.
  • Supporting Shaftesbury’s sustainability strategy and vision for Carnaby to become the most ocean-friendly destination in London.
  • Engaging Carnaby occupiers, strengthening relationships and contributing to their sustainability goals.
  • Reducing monthly average waste by 10 tonnes in Carnaby in the six months since launch.

Feedback from occupiers

“We're thrilled to team up with Carnaby on its Blue Turtle initiative, not least because its aims really resonate with those we founded our business on: working closely with the Sustainable Restaurant Association to achieve the highest sustainability rating possible, we've always considered really carefully where we source our ingredients from, and worked hard to have a positive influence on our local community and as little impact as possible on the environment.” Alex Coppard, Co-founder of The Good Egg

“We’re delighted to be supporting Shaftesbury to launch the Blue Turtle scheme because we believe sustainability needs to go further than the produce we serve. We have a responsibility to act ethically for our people and suppliers too.” Sarah Clark, MD of Whyte and Brown

Challenges and Achievements


How to engage restaurants, bars and cafés in a new sustainability initiative?

Shaftesbury discussed the Blue Turtle initiative with occupiers during regular meetings and raised awareness through Carnaby events, such as World Oceans Day in June. Shaftesbury’s Blue Turtle team supported occupiers via one-to-one meetings, phone calls, emails and online updates. This included reviewing occupiers’ self-audits and action plans, helping them develop targets, sharing the ocean-friendly-toolkit and exchanging best practice examples of what others are doing. This was important given the complex and changing landscape, where it can be challenging to identify the most sustainable solution. For instance, there are biodegradable, compostable and recyclable plastics, and different certifications for sustainable sourcing. Many occupiers welcomed the Blue Turtle, as it supports their own sustainability goals and growing customer interest in issues such as plastic. Shaftesbury is now exploring opportunities to expand Blue Turtle to other parts of its portfolio.


How to raise visitor awareness and encourage them to protect our oceans?

On World Oceans Day in June 2019, Carnaby hosted a free music event to publicly launch the Blue Turtle initiative and highlight what visitors can do to protect our oceans. People visited the Project Zero pop up to hear more about ocean conservation, explore ocean-themed artworks and buy tote bags designed by eco-conscious designers, such as Tracey Emin, Suki Waterhouse and Georgia May Jagger. All proceeds from the reusable bags, which were printed on recycled cotton canvas, went to Project Zero’s extensive conservation work.

For Christmas 2019, the iconic Carnaby Street arch was adorned with the message ‘One Ocean One Planet’ and the whole of Carnaby was lit up with theatrical underwater scenes and sea creatures. Each street represented an area of the ocean in need of conservation, such as coral and floating kelp forests. Every element was made using recycled and reusable materials, including repurposed fishing nets, 500 metres of upcycled bubble wrap and over 1,500 recycled plastic bottles. In addition, the power for the lights was 100% renewably sourced. In the new year, the installation was donated to Project Zero to be reused.

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