GAITHERSBURG, Md., Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sodexo, world leader in Quality of Life services, today announced being named by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the inaugural class of the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions. The recognition is awarded to U.S. businesses and organizations pledging concrete steps to reduce food loss and waste in their operations by 50 percent by 2030. It also aligns with the commitment Sodexo made last Spring for zero waste to landfill by 2025.
"The founding 2030 Champions have shown exceptional leadership in the fight to reduce, recover and recycle food loss and waste," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The staggering amount of wasted food in the United States has far-reaching impacts on food security, resource conservation and climate change. To help galvanize U.S. efforts to reduce food loss and waste, USDA and EPA announced the first U.S. food loss and waste reduction goal in September 2015. Today, the first 15 Champions are stepping up to do their part to help the nation reach this critical goal."
In the United States, the EPA estimates that more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in everyday trash, about 21 percent of the waste stream. Keeping wholesome and nutritious food in our communities and out of landfills helps communities and the 42 million Americans that live in food insecure households. Reducing food waste also impacts climate change as 20 percent of total U.S. methane emissions come from landfills.
"One of Sodexo's goals as an organization is to contribute to effective and sustainable consumption. To do this, it's crucial that we minimize food waste. In the US, about 40% percent of the food produced is never consumed. We are committing to minimizing food waste throughout every part of our value chain-- "from the field to the fork," said Lorna Donatone, CEO, Sodexo Schools Worldwide and President, Sodexo North America. "This is not only an urgent mission given the high economic, social, and environmental cost of waste, but it also resonates with Sodexo's mission to improve quality of life in every community we serve."
Sodexo has a central role in achieving waste reduction targets and is strengthening its efforts to eliminate food waste at every client site, with a top priority to prevent waste from occurring. Its programs focus on raising awareness first and influencing behaviors of customers and employees, while continuously improving back-of-house processes and upgrading kitchen equipment. Measuring impact and sharing expertise with clients and external industry partners to drive fundamental change on the issue of food waste is seen as equally important.
To further drive action Sodexo has hosted waste reduction training for managers in Texas, Georgia and New Jersey with future sessions planned for California, Arizona and Washington, D.C. Post-training survey results show that 95 percent of attendees leave the training with partial or complete waste reduction implementation plans, and 86 percent indicate that they will implement new practices in their operations. Sodexo food waste experts took company efforts global last year, participating in Expo Milano at the USA Pavilion highlighting best-in-class U.S. waste reduction efforts.
"Reducing food waste is good for business, it's good for the environment and it's good for our communities," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "We need leaders in every field and every sector to help us reach our food loss goal. That's why we're excited to work with the 2030 Champions and others across the food retail industry as we work together to ensure that we feed families instead of landfills."
The full list of 2030 Champions announced today include Ahold USA, Blue Apron, Bon Appétit Management Company, Campbell Soup Company, Conagra Brands, Delhaize America, General Mills, Kellogg Company, PepsiCo, Sodexo, Unilever, Walmart, Wegman's Food Markets, Weis Markets and YUM! Brands.
Sodexo delivers more than 100 services across North America that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life. The Fortune Global 500 company is a leader in delivering sustainable, integrated facilities management and foodservice operations.
Learn more about Sodexo at its corporate blog, Sodexo Insights.