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Sodexo Reaffirms Sustainability Commitments As Sites Reopen

Sodexo Reaffirms Sustainability Commitments As Sites Reopen
08 June 2020 | Updated 11 June 2020

To mark World Environment Day 2020 last week, Sodexo reaffirmed its five key sustainability commitments to work with employees, clients and suppliers for a more resilient and green economic recovery.

Sodexo is the first food services company with a carbon emission reduction objective in line with the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, a 34% reduction by 2025 compared to 2017.


"The COVID-19 crisis is a wake-up call to inject a much-needed collective purpose in the economic recovery and prevent an aggravated health, social and ecological crisis. Sodexo is committed to answering that call.”

–Maria Outters

Senior Vice President Corporate Responsibility, Sodexo

The company is emphasising that, despite the obvious challenges the coronavirus pandemic presents,  their sustainability commitments remain a business priority.

Maria Outters, Senior Vice President Corporate Responsibility, Sodexo said: “Underlying economic and social challenges ahead will magnify the need for economic models built on sustainable consumption patterns and solutions preserving natural resources.

“These priority actions in the current environment are part of our pragmatic approach to work with our clients, suppliers and employees to bring back confidence and seize the window of opportunity to make the recovery a turning point when it comes to sustainability.

"The COVID-19 crisis is a wake-up call to inject a much-needed collective purpose in the economic recovery and prevent an aggravated health, social and ecological crisis. Sodexo is committed to answering that call.”

Sodexo has split its commitment into five sections:


1. Continue The Deployment Of Sodexo’s Food Waste Reduction Programme As Sites Reopen


Sodexo will continue the deployment of its data-driven food waste reduction programme, WasteWatch powered by Leanpath. As client sites reopen around the world, Sodexo will continue its actions towards its goal to reduce food waste by 50% on active sites equipped with the programme.

Prior to COVID-19, globally, Sodexo had 1,500 sites equipped or actively engaged in the deployment process of the programme. Since the launch of the programme, Sodexo has been able to save the equivalent 4.8 million meals. This represents a reduction of 15,200 metric tons of carbon emissions.


2. Continue Efforts To Reduce Single-Use Items And Plastic Waste


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a resurgence of single-use plastic. Despite this challenge, Sodexo continues to support its clients and consumers with actions to reduce single-use plastic.

As part of their COVID-19 operational protocols, Sodexo aimed for an approach that would prioritise single-use plastic alternatives. This includes reusable products and kitchen wares with strict cleaning processes, or innovative package solutions that are more environmentally friendly when possible and in line with local guidelines.

Prior to the pandemic, Sodexo had already put in a number of steps to combat single-use plastic in the UK and Ireland, including the removal of plastic straws and stirrers, polystyrene food packaging and single-use plastic bags. As businesses reopen, Sodexo’s single-use hierarchy approach to plastics remains the same:


  • Prevent –Prevention comes first. It’s Sodexo’s favoured sustainable option and it has already cut many single-use plastics from its operations. Other disposable items such as napkins and paper straws are available by request only
  • Reuse – Reusables are the next best choice and come in two forms: customer and Sodexo-owned items. Customer-owned items including coffee cups and food containers are currently restricted, due to possible transmission of COVID-19
  • Recycle – There will be increased use of disposable packaging to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Environmentally friendly options such as fibre-based packaging or plant-based materials will be considered where possible


3. Promote Sustainable Eating And Low Carbon Meals As Part Of ‘Rise With Sodexo’


Sodexo has increased its menu mix target for plant-based meals to more than 30% globally to address the growing consumer demand for sustainable food and preference for simple, clean, local and healthy ingredients.

Sodexo is continuing to work with partners such as the WorldWide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the World Resources Institute to enable consumers to access more sustainable and plant-based meals. Recipes for plant-based meals which include ingredients encouraging biodiversity from the Future 50 foods identified by WWF and Knorr, are now available to 6,500 Sodexo sites in 13 countries.


4. Promote Sustainable And Responsible Sourcing


In 2020, Sodexo celebrates the 10th anniversary of its partnership with WWF to continuously improve operations and sourcing practices and reduce their carbon footprint, including from the production of the food, products and services sourced by Sodexo. Key areas of collaboration include responsible sourcing regarding land commodities, seafood and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.


5. Enhanced Environmental Training Programme For Employees


In May 2020, Sodexo updated its global training programme to help employees work with their clients and consumers to reduce their impact on the environment. This is one of the many initiatives to ensure Sodexo delivers its corporate responsibility objective to have 100% of its employees trained on sustainable practices by 2025.

Picture: A photograph of some sustainable food packaging

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 08 June 2020


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