When Big Companies Make Small Changes to Benefit the World

Nov 10, 2016 11:45 AM ET
Multimedia with summary

Dean Johnson

CEO Service Operations, 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.

Now let’s think about a multibillion dollar global corporation. That individual company can make the decision to start buying locally, switch to sustainable cleaning products, or recycle goods to be repurposed. While each family’s decision is important, when a large business makes these positive changes, it can have an immediate impact on business and the environment. That decision can immediately reach every corner of the world with a single supply chain change.

At Sodexo, we spend more than $3.7 billion dollars with more than 800 suppliers in North America. When making procurement decisions, Sodexo spends a lot of time and effort considering who we will purchase from and how those decisions will impact not only our business and our clients but also the world we live in. For example, Sodexo spends more than $42 million on produce grown in the same state or region where the food will be served. This is the equivalent of 99,540 U.S. households purchasing fresh produce from their local communities. When you think about the impact of this decision, it means that we invest in the local community, save money on gas to transport the produce and improve the freshness of the produce.

As part of our offerings, we purchase cleaning products for many of the sites that we manage. Sodexo has worked with each site and each vendor to increase the number of sustainable cleaning products and now more than half of our cleaning products are green. This move is the equivalent of more than 69,000 U.S. households switching to green cleaners.

At many of our foodservice management sites, we use cooking oil. Rather than throwing away the cooking oil after we’re finished, Sodexo sends the cooking oil to be converted into biodiesel. This decision saves 1.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, which would be the equivalent of not driving a car 1.1 million miles.

Since making these changes, Sodexo can make a measurable difference for the communities it serves, the partners it works with and, most importantly, the globe as a whole.

A recently published animated infographic details more ways our size is helping to make a positive impact around the world. Do you have other ideas? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.