The owner of a national burger restaurant chain has slammed “carbon offsetting” beef farmers and says Brexit has affected British agriculture.

Tom Barton, owner of Brighton’s Honest Burgers, said beef suppliers that pledge net-zero carbon emissions are “blowing hot air around” and kicking the problem into the grass.

Offsetting is when a business will take part in schemes to reduce carbon dioxide in the air elsewhere to compensate for its own emissions.

Honest Burgers switched to regeneratively farmed beef last year to reduce its carbon footprint, a process in which cows churn up the land, meaning flora is encouraged to grow, allowing carbon to be stored in the soil – known as carbon drawdown.

It also uses fewer pesticides, and Tom is calling on farmers to adopt the process and “put the planet before profit”.

The Argus: Tom Watson (right) and business partner Philip EelesTom Watson (right) and business partner Philip Eeles (Image: Stripe)

He said: “Whilst the country faces a carbon and biodiversity crisis, businesses continue to blow hot air around so-called innovative carbon offsetting projects.

“These campaigns simply act to greenwash customers into blind trust, rather than ask questions like, ‘where does my food actually come from and how is it produced?’

“As we see the impact of Brexit on UK agriculture slowly starting to emerge, it is time for the government to step in and do more in terms of incentivising regenerative farming initiatives, which would help bring the costs down for the industry.”

The Argus: Cows on the sustainable farmCows on the sustainable farm (Image: Stripe)

Research by Honest Burgers found 46 percent of the public would be more inclined to buy beef if it was sustainably produced, but 48 percent of cash-strapped Brits said they would not pay extra for beef just because it is more sustainable.

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Tom said: “This survey proves that customers want to do the right thing, but they are not willing to cost commit to paying extra for sustainable beef, and why should they?

Honest Burgers says it is the first burger chain to move to regenerative farming, with 30 percent of its patties produced by sustainable beef, and plans to switch to fully sustainable beef soon.

James Evans, who supplies beef to Honest Burgers, said: "As farmers, we know that by changing the way we farm we can make a huge difference, not only to our own farms but also to help mitigate climate change and improve biodiversity.”