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Sodexo Commits to Zero Food Waste to Landfills

April 18, 2016

Efforts in collaboration with businesses, government and nonprofit organizations will contribute to reducing national food waste in the U.S. to 50 percent by 2030

GAITHERSBURG, Md., April 18, 2016Sodexo, world leader in Quality of Life Services, implements multifaceted approach to eliminate food waste in landfills, further advancing its industry leading position in sustainability. Working in collaboration with clients, customers, suppliers, public and nonprofit organizations, Sodexo offers an actionable model for how the foodservice industry can significantly contribute to the national reduction of food waste, while also freeing up landfill space and reducing ozone-depleting methane gas emissions.

How big is this problem?

  • Food waste represents the third largest waste category in landfills.
  • Every year, American consumers, businesses and farms spend $218 billion growing, processing, transporting and disposing food that is never eaten.
  • 52 million tons of food goes to landfills annually, plus an additional estimated 10 million tons are discarded or go unharvested on farms.
  • Conversely, 1 in 5 American children is at risk of hunger, without reliable access to sufficient affordable, nutritious food.

View the infographic detailing the impact of food waste in landfills and Sodexo’s approach to waste reduction.

For the Zero Food Waste to Landfills commitment, one of many actions that Sodexo will take is to follow guidance in the Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste, a new report released from ReFED—a collaboration of more than 30 businesses, including Sodexo, nonprofits and government leaders committed to reducing food waste. The roadmap highlights 27 strategies that will put the U.S. on track to achieve the national target of 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2030, as established by the Obama Administration in September 2015.

“Americans generate more than 200 tons of garbage each year,” said Deborah Hecker, vice president, corporate responsibility, Sodexo. “A key component of Sodexo’s effort to reduce waste is building awareness around this important issue, internally as well as externally.  We have robust awareness training for our on-site managers, and we also work collaboratively with a wide range of external partners to raise public awareness.”

This collaborative approach is integral to the success of food waste reduction and recovery because consumers make choices every day that impact landfill diversion.  Last year, Sodexo consumer awareness messaging reached 1,200 Sodexo accounts in North America and tens of thousands of people as a result.

Sodexo’s Zero Waste commitment includes raising awareness, improving processes, measuring impact and sharing its expertise in a collaborative manner.  It requires a combination of working with suppliers, managing the kitchen and making appropriate portions available so that less food is discarded. 

Currently, 92% of Sodexo client sites reduce food waste with better portion control and improved meal forecasting preventing waste before it ever happens. This process, source reduction, is cited by the Environmental Protection Agency Food Recovery Hierarchy as the best way to prevent wasted food because these actions create the most benefit for the environment, society and economy. 

Other Multi-Stakeholder Solutions.

  • Sodexo is a member of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, an organization comprised of members of the National Restaurant Association, Grocers and Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute. Part of the mission of the alliance is to share best practices. Its members created a waste reduction toolkit available to anyone at FoodWasteAlliance.org.
  • Sodexo is participating in the International Food Waste Coalition’s SKOOL initiative, which provides schools with the tools, expertise and resources to organize an innovative food waste measurement program. In the project’s first phase, Sodexo is collaborating with 10 schools in three countries, before further expanding the effort across Europe.

While Earth Day is celebrated every April 22, Sodexo takes the approach that every day should be Earth Day. Sodexo’s Better Tomorrow Plan is a year-round commitment to the environment, including waste reduction, water efficiency, energy efficiency and sustainable sourcing.

Sodexo delivers more than 100 services across North America that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life. The global Fortune 500 company is a leader in delivering sustainable, integrated facilities management and foodservice operations.

Learn more about the company at its corporate blog, Sodexo Insights.

Sam Wells
Sodexo, Inc.


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