Sodexo: using technology to tackle food waste

This case study outlines how Sodexo has used circular thinking and technology to help track and eliminate food waste.

This case study outlines how Sodexo has used circular thinking and technology to help track and eliminate food waste. Sodexo’s mission is to improve quality of life through its combination of on-site services, benefits and rewards services and personal and home services.

What is the issue?

Sodexo has significantly cut its own carbon emissions, for example 98% of its electricity comes from renewable sources on its directly operated sites. The next step was to look at their Scope 3 emissions, indirect carbon emissions resulting from the activities of the business. Sodexo believes addressing its indirect impact, via its supply chain and on client sites, is where the greatest advances can be made.  

What did Sodexo do?

In 2019, Sodexo launched WasteWatch using technology developed by Leanpath to cut food waste. WasteWatch is an automated programme that enables onsite staff to easily capture food waste data. Catering staff weigh their waste and the data is then entered into a tablet that helps track waste by every type of food category. Reports are then generated providing data on the biggest opportunities to improve kitchen processes.

Sodexo’s initiative to cut Scope 3 emissions through cutting waste is being done at speed and scale. WasteWatch has been deployed to 3,000 sites worldwide. This includes a rapid deployment programme within the UK and Ireland to over 250 sites and a commitment to roll it out to all relevant sites by 2025.

In the UK alone, Sodexo has deployed WasteWatch to over 200 sites and achieved an average reduction of 42%.

This is equivalent to:

  • over 280 tonnes of food waste prevented 538,285 meals saved
  • 2,041 tonnes CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) emissions prevented.

One client, Leeds Nuffield Hospital, reported WasteWatch had enabled it to significantly reduce deliveries, saving further emissions.

What have Sodexo learnt?

Around the world one-third of food is wasted1, accounting for up to 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions.2 By measuring its waste footprint, Sodexo is helping its clients to manage their own emissions. For businesses buying food through service providers like Sodexo, encouraging measurement and reporting of food waste is a crucial step to tackling the problem.

The combination of technology and behaviour change can be very powerful. In this case, the WasteWatch programme created a different culture led to behavioural change across teams in support of ending avoidable food waste.

“Our commitment to reducing food waste remains at the forefront of our promise to create a better tomorrow and to keep responsible business at the heart of how we do business.”

Sodexo

Business in the Community’s work on the circular economy

The circular economy offers an alternative way of using resources to a traditional, linear economy. Resources are designed for longer lifetimes, repair, re-use and reprocessing. It is evident that we need to redesign how resources are used to achieve a zero carbon economy.

This case study is one of a series which share how BITC members have achieved carbon reduction by taking a circular economy approach.

BITC members can read eight member-only case studies about how Amey, ABP, Anglian Water, Crown Workspace, Gilbert-Ash, John Lewis Partnership, Packoorang and PwC have embeded a circular economy approach into their businesses. Log in to MyBITC.

Find out more about how Business in the Community (BITC) is accelerating the transition to a circular economy and improving resource productivity.

CLIMATE ACTION: THE TIME IS NOW

References
  1. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (2021) Food Loss and Food Waste
  2. United Nation Environment Programme (2021)Food Waste Index Report 2021, 4 March.