It’s time for another Low Carbon Diet Day!Climate change continues to be a heated topic of debate and new data is emerging that further strengthens the connection between food, agriculture and global warming. Bon Appétit Management Company’s Low Carbon Diet is in full swing and continues to be on the cutting edge. As we enter into our second year, I’d like to update you on our accomplishments to date, illustrate what will happen on Low Carbon Diet Day, which will take place on Earth Day, April 22, 2009, and highlight our tech-savvy educational tools.
Low Carbon Diet SuccessesThe Low Carbon Diet is the first program to acknowledge the significant connection between food and climate change. We have implemented numerous procurement initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the most impactful areas by 25% over three years (see attached). At Bon Appétit, we know that if we give our chefs and managers a challenge, they’ll surpass our expectations. The Low Carbon Diet is no exception. We aimed to reduce the amount of beef we purchase by 10% by April 2008 because cows (and all ruminant animals) emit methane gas, a significant contributor to climate change. Not only did we meet this goal, we went above and beyond by achieving a 23% reduction by April 2008! We didn’t take beef off the menus. Instead, our chefs created flavorful, enticing dishes that were alternatives to beef and attracted customers to lower carbon options. By April 2009, we commit to a cumulative reduction of beef purchases of 25%.
In addition to our operational achievements, the ground-breaking Low Carbon Diet program garnered much media attention. With a front-page spread in The Los Angeles Times, TV interviews with CNN and Fox News and a photo in Newsweek magazine, the Low Carbon Diet program definitely made a splash. Through newspaper, TV, radio and Internet press, more than 41 million people learned how to go on a Low Carbon Diet!
Low Carbon Diet DaySimilar to last year, in March we will kick off our promotional campaign to educate guests about the connection between food and climate change and get them excited about participating in Low Carbon Diet Day. On April 22, Low Carbon Diet Day will feature a café menu that teaches guests how to eat “low carbon.” Each station will highlight foods illustrating a key principle of reducing climate change. Diners will continue to have extensive choices but will be encouraged to taste new items that are climate-friendly. In addition, each café will announce the results of our current food waste reduction efforts.
High Tech ToolsAs part of our educational campaign, we created a Low Carbon Diet Calculator. This interactive web-based tool is based on best-available science and teaches users about the relative carbon impacts of their food choices. It’s a fun way to look at your individual contribution.
We are also introducing a Low Carbon Diet application for Facebook. Users can take a “Low Carbon Diet quiz,” receive a score and then share these results and the application with friends. This will be a great way to engage our guests and encourage them to think about the greater impact of their everyday food choices.
I thank you for strongly supporting the Low Carbon Diet program. Working together as partners, we can make the change necessary for a truly sustainable future.
CEO Bon Appétit Management Company
Bon Appétit Management Company’s Low Carbon Diet Commitments
Bon Appétit Management Company’s Low Carbon Diet program was announced in April 2007 and these are the commitments we made over the next several years (and have achieved thus far):
Beef and Cheese
• Reduce the amount of beef we purchase by 25% by April 2009 (achieved 23% reduction by April 2008)
• Purchase 100% of our meats from North America by April 2008
• Reduce the amount of cheese we purchase by 10% by April 2008 (achieved 10% reduction by April 2008)
Fruits and Vegetables
• Source 100% of fresh vegetables and non-tropical fruits from North America by April 2009
• Reduce purchases of fresh tropical fruits by 50% by April 2009
• Eliminate air-freighted seafood species by April 2009
• Reduce food waste by 10% by April 2009 and by 25% by April 2010
• Implement composting programs and alternative uses of food waste (such as bio-fuels) at every possible site by April 2010
Sweets and Processed Foods
• Reduce consumption of processed sweets, snacks and chocolate by 10% by April 2009
• Source all bottled water from North American sources (achieved April 2008)
• Introduce more shade-grown and organic coffees in cafés by April 2010
Disposables and Packaging
• Reduce the total usage of packaging by at least 10% by April 2009
• Define and implement the best environmental options for each type of unit (as possible)
• Reduce energy and water usage by at least 20% by April 2010
• Conduct equipment and operational audits of all accounts that are not already LEED certified or newly built by April 2010
• Require all units to identify how they will achieve efficiencies in equipment and operations by April 2010