Monday, May 07, 2007

Major Food Company Goes on Low-Carbon Diet

A major U.S. food company has gone on a low-carbon diet. Not low in carbohydrates, but low in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a main contributor to global warming.

Bon Appetit is a food management corporation, providing cafe and catering services to corporations, colleges and universities. Beginning last month on Earth Day, the company launched a national campaign to reduce their own climate change emissions by raising awareness of how far food travels to get to our dinner plates and encouraging their chefs to use local, seasonal ingredients. Company executives were spurred to action from a 2006 United Nations study that found the food industry created one-third of the world's global warming pollution through packaging, transportation, and other related processes. From the news release:
“It is insane to sit down to lunch in Los Angeles and drink water that has traveled 5,000 miles from Fiji,” said Helene York, director of the Bon Appetit Management Company Foundation, the program’s organizer. “We are scrutinizing our own food habits to reduce our carbon footprint as a company, and we are helping our guests do the same on an individual level.”
So what does a low-carbon diet look like? There's no set definition of a "high carbon" food, but Bon Appetit's plan will include:
  • Reducing the use of beef by 25 percent – Livestock production is responsible for 18 percent of global warming emissions.
  • Sourcing all meat and poultry from North America – 80 percent of the energy used by the food system comes not from growing food, but from transporting and processing it.
  • Sourcing nearly all fruits and vegetables from North America, using seasonal local produce as a first preference and using tropical fruits only as “special occasion” ingredients – Most bananas travel 3,000 miles in high-speed refrigerated ships to reach an American breakfast plate. A local apple could come from 10 miles away.
  • Serving only domestic bottled water and reducing waste from plastic bottles – Americans throw away 40 million plastic water bottles every day.
  • Reducing food waste – Goal of 25 percent reduction in three years or less.
  • Auditing the energy efficiency of kitchen equipment – In home or commercial kitchens energy losses of up to 30 percent can be easily corrected for very low cost.
The company will also launch a carbon point system so consumers can calculate the impact of their personal food choices.

California-based Bon Appetit Management Company has 10,000 employees. Its client roster includes Yahoo!, Target Corporation, Boston Scientific, and the Seattle Art Museum.

via the Minneapolis Star Tribune


lornadoone said...

This is both wonderful and amazing. Let's hope they are a role model for other companies!

Colleen Hanlon said...

Sustainable food leads to ethical consumption leading further to sustainable development. So let’s get responsible in our eating habits and keep away from diseases.
The best way is a low carbon diet and I don’t think it is rocket science to design a healthy and green diet chart. Just reduce consumption of cheese, beef, butter etc and eat more of vegetables and fruits.

In other words eat a subway salad, instead of the subway sandwich!!! Yum Yummm