Serving more than 9,000 sites throughout North America, Sodexo is using its reach to try to influence behaviors among its millions of customers. The company has announced its support for “Save the Food,” a national public service campaign developed by the Ad Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and released an infographic on how it engages its customers to reduce, reuse and recycle.
To date, more than 13,000 of Sodexo’s sites globally have worked to raise awareness and impact behavior change around water waste. Others routinely work to reduce the amount of organic and non-organic waste that goes to landfills. Due to its role as a Quality of Life services company, encouraging small behavior changes such as using fewer napkins and recycling paper, aluminum and cardboard allows the company to make a big impact. Sodexo’s “Take One” program has reduced napkin waste by as much as 55 percent, and recycling initiatives have led to 95 percent of client sites recycling cardboard, 86 percent recycling paper and 81 percent recycling aluminum.
“According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, every year Americans generate 254 million tons of garbage with the bulk of it ending up in landfills and incinerators that pollute both earth and air,” said Steve Cox, the vice president of corporate communications at Sodexo. “Our approach is to encourage and engage our clients, customers and supply partners regarding opportunities where we can collectively make more sustainable choices.”
Through the remainder of 2016, Sodexo will be the only food service provider highlighting the importance of reducing food waste using “Save the Food” public service announcements in both the serving and eating areas of its establishments. The campaign encourages Americans to make simple lifestyle changes to reduce waste in their own homes.
“To move food from farm to fork expends up to 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and guzzles 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States. Despite that investment, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten,” said Ted Monk, Sodexo vice president of sustainability and corporate responsibility. “Sodexo’s promotion of ‘Save the Food’ seeks to significantly reduce the nearly $165 billion in wasted food that Americans throw out annually.”
The outreach in support of the campaign builds on Sodexo’s efforts include working with its teams, clients and suppliers to reduce food waste in its ordering, storage, preparation and serving at client sites. Almost 90 percent of Sodexo sites are implementing equipment and process steps to reduce organic waste. Sodexo also collaborates with a variety of companies and organizations to take actions that encourage consumer food waste reduction and inform policy. This is highlighted by its partnerships with local food recovery organizations, such as the Campus Kitchens Project and the Food Recovery Network, to collect and redistribute surplus food from college campuses to community partner organizations. These partnerships have resulted in over seven million of pounds of food being provided to others in need.
“Sodexo is committed to making a dent in the food waste issue we have in this country,” said Dana Gunders, Senior Scientist at the NRDC and author of ‘Waste Free Kitchen Handbook.’ “We can’t reach the goals of reducing food waste without collaboration from leaders like Sodexo who are willing to pitch in by helping to educate consumers.”