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Sodexo Reveals First Carbon and Water Measurements

Sodexo emitted 71,368 metric tons of carbon equivalent in 2010, according to the company’s first performance-based sustainability report for North America.

The report included a few measures of progress. Sodexo’s contracted U.S. purchases of Marine Stewardship Council or Best Aquaculture Practices-certified sustainable seafood increased from 31 percent to 43 percent from 2009 to 2010. In Canada, the company said certified purchases shot up from eight to 34 percent.

But most of the report sets a performance baseline against which Sodexo will measure progress on environmental initiatives, include its first measurements of carbon and water footprints for its direct operations.

The company’s scope 1 and 2 CO2e emissions are shown in the chart, above. Sodexo says that its carbon-reduction measures include:

  • Annual preventive maintenance
  • Equipment on-off protocols
  • Ensuring that doors to cold storage areas are kept shut
  • Using alternative sources of energy
  • Replacing CFC, HFC and HCFC refrigerant gases
  • Installing timers on vending equipment
  • Installing energy efficient lighting, air conditioning, refrigerators, dishwashers and ovens.

In the near term it is considering incentives for employees to choose hybrid vehicles.

But Sodexo notes that its direct energy, water and waste impacts are only a small portion of its potential overall impacts.

“How we manage our client sites is by far the greatest opportunity for change, yet it is the most difficult to measure,” the report said. “When we operate as a guest in our client’s facility, we make purchasing and operating decisions that impact the environment, health, and communities.

“However, many of our sites are lacking meters or other mechanisms that can measure the portion of sites we manage,” it added.

The company notes that it manage facilities for 700 clients throughout North America. Food service is often the most energy-intensive operation in commercial buildings and a major source of water consumption, Sodexo says.

To get a better handle on site level impacts, Sodexo initiated a global survey of sustainability practices in March of 2010. In North America, 2,642 sites responded to the survey, and this provided much of the report’s data. Sodexo says that in the future, its Sustainability Management and Reporting Tool (SMART) will help it to increase its capability to measure site-level sustainability performance.

In the meantime, Sodexo has been asking sites to make basic behavior changes, and says that over half of sites are taking these steps. “These produce a smaller outcome on a per site level, but the benefits add up across all the sites we serve,” the report said.

This year it is also offering training to all managers in how to look for energy and water saving opportunities, and it is asking managers to speak with clients about carrying out audits and installing more efficient equipment. Many managers have done this for energy, it says, but fewer have implemented systemic water-saving measures.

In 2011, Sodexo says it will also be developing an executive level briefing on climate risk, disclosing its risk and emissions through the Carbon Disclosure Project, and setting reduction targets.

The company said that its North American water footprint in 2010 was 517,644,783 gallons. This includes consumption at its laundries, a few conference centers, and other leased spaces. Initiatives it has undertaken for water conservation including detailed water efficiency audits, regularly checking for leaks, water re-use and recycling, and installing water saving faucets and equipment, such as dishwashers, toilets and urinals.

According to the survey, roughly half of Sodexo’s sites are already implementing composting for organic waste and recycling for non-organic waste. It expects that to continue to grow in the coming year.

Sodexo asks sites to consider reusable ware and cutlery first; after that, look for recycled content products; and then look for compostable options. The site survey revealed that almost 1,000 sites are now using reusable ware and cutlery as their default choice.

The report also outlined Sodexo’s sustainability commitments, including

  • Ensuring compliance with a Global Sustainable Supply Chain Code of Conduct in all the countries where it operates by 2015
  • Sourcing local, seasonal or sustainably grown or raised products in all the countries where it operates by 2015
  • Sourcing sustainable fish and seafood in all the countries where it operates by 2015
  • Sourcing and promoting sustainable equipment and supplies in all the countries where it operates by 2020
  • Reducing its carbon footprint by 2020
  • Reducing its water footprint by 2020
  • Reduce organic waste and non-organic waste by 2015

The company earned $8 billion revenue in North America as of August 31, and 15.3 billion euros globally. With 380,000 employees, it is the 21st largest employer in the world.

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