Food waste is feeding climate change

Published on : 9/29/21
  • Food is everywhere. It plays a central role in our daily lives and relationships. Food is fuel for life but producing it and wasting it come with an environmental cost.

    When people talk about climate change, it is not generally food waste which comes to mind as the first topic but, food waste is responsible for 10% of all emissions caused by human activity globally. In fact, wasting food generates more greenhouse gas emissions each year than all the commercial flights in the world.

    At Sodexo, with 60% of our business linked to food and serving million consumers worldwide each day, we know how important preventing food waste is! Fighting against food waste is the single most important climate and social action we can take to cut our emissions as an organization and we’ve taken the ambitious commitment to reduce our food waste as a business by 50% by 2025.

    WasteWatch – measuring food waste to change behavior

    Logo reads: waste watchOur WasteWatch program enables our team to quickly and easily capture food waste data, providing us with clear insights into how much food is being wasted in our kitchens and why. With this understanding, our teams can implement targeted operational and behavioral changes to help end avoidable food waste, both in our kitchens and from consumer plates. 

    Our 2025 target is to reduce our food waste by 50% through the deployment of Sodexo’s WasteWatch program in 85% of our food service sites globally. As of 2021, our WasteWatch program has been deployed in 27.6% of sites in 26 countries, with food waste reduction of 45.8% compared to the deployed sites’ baseline.

    WasteLESS week – empowering consumers to reduce their waste

    Since 2012, we’ve celebrated ‘WasteLESS Week’ globally as an organization. This campaign, which runs during October, is a key moment to empower our consumers to waste less and to support our teams in their efforts to reduce waste all year around. This year the focus of our campaign will be food waste, driving awareness of the huge opportunity we have to reduce our carbon emissions by reducing our food waste.

    Here are some of the great success stories from our teams around the globe:

    Saving delicious surplus food in Australia 

    Sodexo Australia is taking strides in its commitment to food waste prevention, by pledging to purchase at least 100 tonnes of food for next year from certified Social Traders Yume. In the past month alone, Sodexo worked with Yume to intercept 32,000 Red Velvet cakes and 12,220 bowls of soup destined to become further figures in Australia’s food waste problem.

    Sodexo was the first corporate buyer to take the Yume Pledge in 2018 and since then have pledged each year, purchasing more than 190 tonnes of food through Yume to date, preventing unnecessary food waste.

    “The Australian commercial food sector is responsible for 55% of the food which ends up in landfill – this is equal to 4.1 million tonnes of food each year. We need more companies, like Sodexo, to make a commitment to minimising food waste in this country.”  Katy Barfield, Yume Founder and CEO

    Since 2016, Yume estimate they have saved more than 565 million litres of water and 9,600,000 kilograms of CO2 emissions have been prevented. 

    Find out more.

    Engaging consumers and employees against food waste in the United States

    Food waste often goes unnoticed by consumers. Our teams in the United States decided to take action by running an event when consumers were encouraged to weigh their own plate waste. The event raised awareness of food waste with consumers, starting the process of behavioral change. 

    Food waste is also a challenge for our employees so we engage them all year around on the topic. 
    We shared our actions and ideas in a booth at the first United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Waste Fair. Our booth was focused on engaging employees and changing culture and behavior around food waste. We were delighted to see that the Sodexo booth was one of the most visited. 

    Fighting food waste while boosting SME businesses in France and Belgium

    Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services has established a partnership with Phenix, a French startup fighting food waste, to drive positive impact for consumers, SME businesses and the environment. Phenix is a solution allowing food shops, stores and restaurants to sell surplus food to consumers at a reduced price (usually 50% of the original price). This avoids the surplus being thrown away, limiting food waste and fostering the circular economy. Thanks to this partnership, Belgian and French holders of the Sodexo Pass card can now pay food for surplus baskets on the Phenix application. This is also an opportunity for Sodexo’s merchants to optimize their profitability as well as boost their visibility and communicate on their sustainability efforts.


    Rescuing wonky fruit and veg and leftovers in the United Kingdom

    In addition to the implementation of the WasteWatch program, which has saved over 294 tonnes of food from going to waste so far. The teams in the UK have been addressing the fact that 7.2% of food harvested from UK farms doesn’t reach the market due to its appearance. The Wasteful to Tasteful initiative rescues and distributes ‘wonky’ fruit and veg to our sites, where our chefs use these ingredients to create delicious dishes. So far, we’ve saved over 300 tonnes of ‘wonky’ produce from landfill.

    Any leftovers are also redistributed through Too Good to Go, an app which sells surplus food at discounted rates. Around 8,000 meals have been saved so far and the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation also works to redistribute food to thousands of community groups around the country.

    The figures talk for themselves! Reducing food waste has a positive impact on the planet. Find out more about our actions to prevent food waste:

    A more circular approach

    Read more about how we are reducing food waste

    Food waste reshapes corporate sustainability

    Listen to Maria Outters, Group SVP, Corporate Social Responsibility at Sodexo, talk about global trends in food waste and the steps corporate leaders are taking to reduce food waste in business settings.

    Read more

    Top tips for reducing food waste

    Pete Pearson, Senior Director of Food Loss and Waste at WWF-US and Maria Outters, SVP Corporate Responsibility at Sodexo share some tips to reduce waste at home and on our sites.

    Watch the video

    Reducing food waste in Singapore schools

    Here in Singapore, over 800 tonnes of food waste was generated in 2017. And out of this, only 16% was recycled. This is where Sodexo’s WasteWatch comes into play. In Singapore, we debuted it's waste prevention program at a local education institution.

    Read more

    How can chefs help tackle climate change?

    One of the most important ways we can have a positive impact on the environment is through the food we buy and eat. A chef can therefore lead positive changes in our eating habits through the meals they choose to cook and serve.

    Read more

    Consumers & food waste: decoding behaviors in food services

    Discover the findings from our food waste survey. Through this survey, we hope to improve how food services providers can engage with consumers and identify solutions to prevent food waste.

    Read more

    Reducing food waste in United States healthcare

    The Food & Nutrition team at Vidant rolled out Sodexo’s automated food waste tracking system this past year, refining their ability to measure their food waste. The teams receive detailed reports on what was being wasted and why and were able to quickly adopt their plans to prevent future waste.

    Read more

    Rescuing nutritious food from going to waste in the United Kingdom

    When Sodexo launched its Wasteful to Tasteful initiative in October 2018, Sodexo Schools & Universities didn’t realise that within two short years our catering teams would have saved more than 15,000 kilograms of wonky fruit and vegetables from landfill.

    Read more
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