Interview with Neil Barrett, Group SVP Corporate Responsibility.
Climate change is one of the most vital issues of the 21st century. To find out how we’re tackling this huge challenge, we spoke to Neil Barrett, Group SVP Corporate Responsibility.
How do reduced carbon emissions fit into Sodexo’s overall corporate responsibility commitments?
Neil Barrett: Sodexo has committed to engaging with our teams, clients and suppliers to reduce the costs of energy and to reduce carbon emissions from our operations and in our supply chain. Our action on carbon is one of nine commitments in our corporate responsibility roadmap: Better Tomorrow 2025.
We also know that controlling energy costs is a key component in enabling businesses to be competitive. We know that responsible businesses want to optimize their energy use in order to protect the environment. That’s why we believe it is vital to increase energy awareness and to develop best practices around energy efficiency and product sourcing.
When did we launch our drive to reduce our carbon footprint? What is our target and what has been achieved so far?
N.B.: In our Better Tomorrow roadmap, launched in 2009, we called out responsible sourcing and energy reduction as two fundamental activities that required our attention and effort globally. So an international working group of Sodexo energy and environmental experts collaborated with our technical partner, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). This allowed us to better understand our current position and to develop strategies to address this challenge. Together we set a 34% carbon emissions reduction target by 2025 (compared to 2011 levels).
In FY2016, our total CO2 emissions from our own business operations* had been reduced by 44% (or from 240,055 metric tons to 133,377 metric tons).
Where do the majority of Sodexo’s carbon emissions come from?
N.B.: While many companies set emission targets based only on their own business operations, Sodexo has chosen to go beyond this and set a target which includes emissions caused by the creation of products we purchase, as well as looking at ways we can help our clients reduce their carbon footprint.
Overall, emissions from our own operations, including emissions generated from our purchased electricity, account for approximately 2% of our total carbon footprint. The remaining 98% is split equally between the carbon embedded in the products we buy and the facilities management work we conduct on behalf of our clients.
What can we do to encourage our clients and suppliers to further reduce emissions?
N.B.: Having everyday contact with our clients gives us unique insights into the issues and challenges they face. We help them meet their energy management goals through the proven excellence of our technical maintenance and an energy awareness program that encourages people to change their behavior. Whether motivated by cost savings, strategic goals, or a strong commitment to protecting the environment, clients see energy management as an essential part of their long-term strategy.
Sodexo technical maintenance now operates in 54 countries. In fact, helping clients meet energy management goals is a seamless extension of our current offers. Within our business we have implemented a Global Energy Network and created dedicated energy management services teams. Additionally, by working with our suppliers on long term sustainable sourcing partnerships, Sodexo is able to better understand the suppliers’ carbon reduction efforts and outcomes, to capture and report this work, and also to secure our supply chain and products.
What can I do as an individual to reduce my carbon footprint?
N.B.: Here are my top Top 4 recommended practices you should consider as a way of softening your footprint on the planet. Most can be implemented for little or no cost. In fact, they can save you money.
- Eat well and eat healthy. Eat locally-produced, seasonal and sustainable food. Food production and transportation is a major contributor of greenhouse gases (e.g. it has been estimated at 13% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions). By eating a diet with more vegetables/pulses and a little less meat and dairy you will also reduce your carbon footprint.
- Don’t waste food. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. A global statistic is one thing however its individual actions that count. Reducing your food waste and encouraging family and friends to do the same is important. When it comes to non-organic waste you should reuse, repurpose and/or recycle.
- Be energy efficient. Make sure your home is energy efficient. Insulate and seal your home and buy the most energy efficient appliances. Turn off appliances and lights you’re not using and when you leave the room. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED ones. Adjust thermostats to ideal temperatures and avoid over heating or over cooling. Use automatic thermostats if available.
- Consider where and how you travel. Whenever possible walk, ride a bike, use city public transport, carpool or drive a low carbon vehicle. If you fly, fly less frequently by considering the use of technology.
All of the above, if adopted are not only good for reducing your carbon footprint, but are also good for your physical and mental wellbeing.
* Sodexo has realized a significant reduction of our total CO2 emissions from our own business operations which are classified as Scope 1 and Scope 2. (the 34% target covers Scope 1, 2 and 3).