Young people like Greta Thunberg and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Young Leaders are inspiring more young people to engage in the groundswell of climate activism. Their passion is not surprising. They are, after all, the ones who will be most impacted by the social, economic, and physical effects of climate change in the coming decades. It makes sense that climate change has become an important issue for college students, who often expect it to be a top priority for their campus and even cite it as a factor influencing their college selection decisions.
As I read the first chapter of Sodexo’s 2019/2020 President to President thought leadership series, “Educating the Environmental Stewards of Tomorrow: Presidential Leadership and Climate Change,” I recognized many of the things I see every day on Sodexo’s partner campuses. Author Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D., President of California State University, Northridge (CSUN), notes that the movement for action in this area is particularly strong among youth and Gen Z students. They expect their institutions to be socially responsible, particularly in the area of sustainability, as a matter of course, and they are often leading campuses’ efforts.
Sodexo is committed to leading these sustainability solutions right alongside students at our partner sites in North America and around the world. A few recent examples reflect the latest trends in dining and address consumers’ growing expectations regarding—and desire for—sustainable practices and products.
Consumers increasingly seek plant-based dishes for both their health and environmental benefits. A 2019 Technomic, Inc. report found that 25% of U.S. students choose a plant-forward diet. Sodexo meets that demand with diverse plant-based menu options and innovative partnerships. One example is the new Impossible Burger, a plant-based meatless beef alternative, which we introduced to more than 1,500 partner sites this August.
Lighting and Equipment Retrofits
Replacing outdated lighting and other high-efficiency retrofits reduce energy consumption, lowering carbon emissions and even cutting costs for our partners. For example, at University of New Orleans, our facilities management team recently upgraded more than 22,000 LED bulbs and installed new HVAC controls. These efforts enhanced the campus environment and
saved more than 2.8 million kilowatt hours of energy, earning the campus a $250,000 rebate as well as recognition as one of the top reducers of energy consumption in Louisiana for the year.
Food Waste Prevention
Decomposing food waste substantially contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. WasteWatch powered by Lean Path (WWxLP) is a data-driven food waste prevention system that identifies the root causes of food waste. It enables onsite teams to make informed operational and behavioral changes that prevent food waste, leading to reduced purchasing costs and more sustainable operations. Around 200 Sodexo partner campuses will implement WWxLP this fall.
While huge challenges remain, Sodexo will continue doing our part as we strive to improve Quality of Life. In Universities, everything we do is focused on providing innovative solutions that meet both the local and global community’s needs and enhance the overall college experience as students prepare for their futures.
Imagine if every year Apple threw out one third of its Iphones. Made them, shipped them, threw them out. Or imagine if Toyota threw out a third of the cars it made. Samsung a third of its TVs. Its ridiculous to even imagine. (more…)
Shrinking your food footprint isn’t as daunting as it may seem. By eating in a more sustainable way, you can lower your environmental impact, protect ecosystems and contribute to food security not just for us, but for future generations, according to The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.
A 2014 study reported that 83 percent of Americans consider sustainability when buying food, but Americans are shockingly unaware of how much food they are wasting on a daily basis, according to a study from the International Food Information Council Foundation.
Here are three simple steps to creating a more sustainable diet for you and your family. (more…)
More and more, employees expect their employers to share their commitment to the environment. A study released last month showed that 69 percent of U.S. employees surveyed want to see their employers take a public stand on clean air, water and open spaces.
Creating or rejuvenating a recycling program at work offers employers an opportunity to connect with their people on a topic they feel passionately about, to build leadership skills and to potentially save their organization money. (more…)
Only 33 percent of US workers report being engaged in their jobs according to a report issued earlier this year by Gallup. A whopping 51 percent of U.S. employees say they are actively looking for a new job or watching for openings.
So, what drives engagement and what can organizations do to attract and retain the best talent? (more…)
Sodexo North America
Every day both families and companies are presented with myriad choices that affect the environment and the globe as a whole. With each decision, come both rewards and consequences. A single family can decide to make environmentally friendly decisions such as freezing vegetables they can’t use, purchasing green cleaning products, or walking to dinner instead of driving. Each one of these decisions has a small but positive impact in helping our environment.
The COP21 in Paris last December achieved a remarkable accord—for all 196 countries attending to sign the agreement is unprecedented. That’s the good news, and everyone involved should take pride in this accomplishment.
But there’s no time to rest on laurels—the accord was just the beginning. We must ensure that action follows and is aligned with the promises of that agreement. And though, of course, governments should lead this movement, it is action by the private sector that can make the difference. (more…)
Each spring, we remind ourselves about the importance of the environment by celebrating Earth Day. It’s a day to focus our attention on preserving the earth by reducing human impact on it.
At Sodexo, we partner with our clients and suppliers to reduce, reuse and recycle. We look for organizations that help us create win-win situations, so that we have a smaller environmental footprint while helping those in need at the same time. (more…)
Sustainable work spaces are becoming more prominent. Investing in sustainability benefits business, employees and the environment; it’s a win-win. By recognizing the value in sustainability, innovative companies can improve the health and well-being of their workforce—while supporting business goals.
A new quality of life economic model is developing thanks to communications, green energy and transportation connected via the platform of the Internet of Things. This glimpse of the completely new economic paradigm that will fully emerge over the next 25 years was offered by Jeremy Rifkin at the inaugural Quality of Life Conference sponsored by Sodexo in New York in May. Rifkin, an economic and social theorist, writer and political advisor, sees the new economic paradigm coupled with extensive sharing of information and goods—like cars—leading to an improved overall quality of life for people and the planet.
Do you have a “monkey mind?” This wonderfully colorful description describes someone who starts thinking about the challenges of the day ahead the moment they wake up—their mind racing through a list of have to’s, should have’s and why did I’s? As Entrepreneur points out, a restless mind can cause trouble sleeping, poor decision-making, anxiety and even depression—none of which helps us excel during a demanding day. A monkey mind distracts us from the task at hand, creating stress and impairing productivity.
Eating fish is a smart choice. It’s a lean protein with great health benefits. But some varieties of seafood have been overfished or caught in ways that may cause lasting damage to our oceans and marine life.
I grew up on a small family farm in South Georgia. Small family farm is code for hard work and community. On our farm, we didn’t own all the farm equipment we needed, nor did the surrounding farmers, but collectively we organized and shared resources and when it came time to harvest, everyone worked together as a community. Working together for the success of all: to me, that’s community. You take care of each other, you take care of the land and it will take care of you.
Sustainability is not a call for reform any more than it is a call for regression; it is a reminder of considerations we may easily forget. History paints the story of civilizations whose growth exceeded their ability to sustain them, and in our global society, each individual action can serve to benefit or hinder our collective future.