Hit and miss – Sodexo’s sustainability performance

Setting sustainability targets is a mug’s game, as Sodexo is finding out. The caterer has just published its 2016 corporate responsibility report, replete with progress updates on the range of commitments contained within its Better Tomorrow Plan.

It makes for interesting reading.

Sodexo has exceeded its 2015 targets on fruit and veg sourcing (40% grown and consumed within the country of origin) and the procurement of sustainable paper, and met those pertaining to salt, fat and sugar reductions and its eliminated the purchase of at-risk seafood species from the business.

The company is also on track to have 50% of women in management positions by the end of the decade (currently 49.4%) and for 50% of sites to be supporting the recovery of organic waste.

That’s all good news. But the report also highlights how the caterer is struggling to hit some of its other ambitious environmental targets.

Just 8% of the company’s sites have so far implemented a carbon footprint reduction programme, against a 2015 target of 20% and a 2020 one of 65%.

A commitment to have 25% of sites implementing organic waste reduction programmes hasn’t been met (currently 12%), which will make meeting the 2020 target of 80% extremely difficult.

Only 14% of sites are implementing non-organic waste reduction schemes, a long way off 2015’s target of 40%.

And to date, 82% of the coffee Sodexo procures is fairly traded. The 2015 target was 90%.

So, it’s a mixed bag of results. That’s to be expected and, to my mind, applauded. Why? Because if Sodexo had met every one of those 2015 targets I’d have concluded that they weren’t stretching enough.

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