We’re passionate about serving people—and working to ensure the wellbeing of both people and our planet. While the pandemic dramatically changed how companies do business, we remained focused on practices that enable equity and wellbeing for millions of people and reduce our environmental impact across our operations.
This month, we’re celebrating Earth Day by highlighting our recent pledge to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by the end of 2025, thus reducing our carbon footprint. This commitment is part of our Be Well. Do Well. sustainability plan and targets those emissions we control and influence—in technical terms, our scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions. These three scopes identify our emissions based on where they originate, as well as our ability to control or influence. The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol is the world’s most widely used greenhouse gas accounting standard for companies and helps them track progress toward climate goals.
“Mitigating the effects of climate change takes leadership—across government, industries, businesses, and consumers,” said Enterprise Sustainability Manager Kelly McCourt. “Everyone plays a part and figuring out how to best address our part is an evolving initiative.”
Through the collaborative efforts of our food, facilities, and uniforms teams, we established our baseline emissions and identified key data gaps to close. We modeled different scenarios and evaluated the potential impact of various initiatives that will help to achieve our goal to decrease our carbon footprint. We’re also implementing practices to improve emissions tracking and expand our public reporting.
Gaining Momentum In Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions
Given the wide and diverse nature of our business—from the food we serve to thousands each day, to the vehicles we drive and the facilities we maintain—we have a unique opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We’ve already implemented many measures to help us reach our goal, and we’re accelerating our strategy that will guide us in identifying, evaluating, and implementing practices to further reduce emissions.
According to CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), a non-governmental organization that runs the global greenhouse gas disclosure system, a company’s supply chain emissions – included in scope 3 – are on average 5.5 times larger than a company’s direct operations. For a food service company, this presents both a challenge and an opportunity as we can determine which products we purchase, though ultimately our consumers choose their menu selections.
Through our inventory, we found that supply chain purchases, and animal products in particular, contribute a larger percentage of our emissions, while a smaller percentage is attributed to our building and vehicle operations. We also identified that emissions from kitchen equipment at our client locations present a significant gap in our inventory. So, in the next four years, we’ll advance our plans by taking a hard look at both our supply chain and our operations to implement practices that can help lower our emissions.
Across our company, we’re already lowering emissions by purchasing responsibly sourced products and reducing food waste. For example, our No-Deforestation Policy guides how we source palm oil, soy, beef, and paper products from healthy ecosystems not at risk of deforestation, since converting tropical forests for agricultural products such as palm oil, soy, beef, and paper (timber) is a leading cause of deforestation, and a major contributor to climate change.
We also strive to eliminate waste before it’s generated through menu planning, customer and portion forecasting, smart purchasing, consumer engagement tools, waste tracking, post-analysis, and other initiatives. All our food service locations are tracking food waste using a variety of methods, including 400 of our largest accounts that have transitioned to a technology-based solution for tracking waste. Tracking waste enables better decisions about what to purchase and how much to prepare.
In our Higher Education, Healthcare and Business Dining food businesses, we’ve also made an innovative move to more plant-forward and plant-based menus, which are better for people’s health—and for the planet, because they not only help reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also minimize demand for water and land resources and preserve natural habitats.
“As a company, our goal is to educate and enable consumers to make informed choices,” said Kathy Cacciola, Vice President, Enterprise Sustainability. “For example, we’re striving to help our consumers understand the connection between having delicious, nutritious plant-forward meals and helping to reduce our collective greenhouse gas emissions.”
In our DSD business, we’ve set a goal of an 8% reduction in fuel consumption and the elimination of about 12,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) through telematics technology, route optimization, and fleet modernization. Our 31 all-electric step vans—on the road since 2017—have also decreased Aramark’s emissions by 433 metric tons of CO2, and we’re planning to add 50 more over the next two years.
And in our Facilities business, we implement energy management solutions that minimize energy consumption and improve operational efficiencies. Our deep knowledge and expertise enable us to develop tailored solutions that deliver on our clients’ highest priorities such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions or helping to achieve time-bound climate goals.
While all of these are exciting accomplishments, we continue to raise the bar: we’re building on this momentum to deliver more emissions reductions. By tracking and quantifying environmental and financial impacts of these efforts, we’ll work toward our climate goal.
Meeting Customer Expectations and Bettering the Bottom Line
Not only is environmental sustainability the right thing to do, but it also has serious implications for our customers, clients, and bottom line. As consumers take steps to better themselves, they increasingly expect companies to be committed to social change and environmental responsibility. Similarly, many organizations—universities, companies, governments, sports teams—are escalating their expectations of partners and suppliers, wanting to ensure their vision and values are aligned.
“In our sustainability plan, we define sustainability as ‘the three P’s’— people, planet, and profit. It’s a three-legged stool,” Cacciola said. “By addressing climate change, our goal is to enable people to prosper, on a healthy planet, for generations to come while ensuring long-term business growth.”
We’re looking to the future with renewed determination to do good – for our people and our planet – across our entire business and in partnership with our employees, clients, investors, and stakeholders.