GAITHERSBURG, Md., Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sodexo, world leader in Quality of Life services, today announced being named by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the inaugural class of the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions. The recognition is awarded to U.S. businesses and organizations pledging concrete steps to reduce food loss and waste in their operations by 50 percent by 2030. It also aligns with the commitment Sodexo made last Spring for zero waste to landfill by 2025.
"The founding 2030 Champions have shown exceptional leadership in the fight to reduce, recover and recycle food loss and waste," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The staggering amount of wasted food in the United States has far-reaching impacts on food security, resource conservation and climate change. To help galvanize U.S. efforts to reduce food loss and waste, USDA and EPA announced the first U.S. food loss and waste reduction goal in September 2015. Today, the first 15 Champions are stepping up to do their part to help the nation reach this critical goal." In the United States, the EPA estimates that more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in everyday trash, about 21 percent of the waste stream. Keeping wholesome and nutritious food in our communities and out of landfills helps communities and the 42 million Americans that live in food insecure households. Reducing food waste also impacts climate change as 20 percent of total U.S. methane emissions come from landfills. "One of Sodexo's goals as an organization is to contribute to effective and sustainable consumption. To do this, it's crucial that we minimize food waste. In the US, about 40% percent of the food produced is never consumed. We are committing to minimizing food waste throughout every part of our value chain-- "from the field to the fork," said Lorna Donatone, CEO, Sodexo Schools Worldwide and President, Sodexo North America. "This is not only an urgent mission given the high economic, social, and environmental cost of waste, but it also resonates with Sodexo's mission to improve quality of life in every community we serve." Sodexo has a central role in achieving waste reduction targets and is strengthening its efforts to eliminate food waste at every client site, with a top priority to prevent waste from occurring. Its programs focus on raising awareness first and influencing behaviors of customers and employees, while continuously improving back-of-house processes and upgrading kitchen equipment. Measuring impact and sharing expertise with clients and external industry partners to drive fundamental change on the issue of food waste is seen as equally important.