At a Glance
Food and Agriculture
Avondale Estates, GA
Brian Meko spearheaded the creation of Sodexo’s food recovery & donation toolkit to help Sodexo staff to safely and effectively recover and donate potentially wasted food.
As a best-in-class operator seeking to become more sustainable, Sodexo North American (NorAM) was challenged with increasing social impact while reducing wasted food from over 4000+ sites. Tasked with devising tools to aid frontline workers, Sodexo’s Corporate Responsibility team enlisted Joseph (Brian) Meko to create an up-to-date, general use guide for Sodexo site operators to successfully, safely, and efficiently donate recovered food that would otherwise be wasted.
Meko approached the creation of the toolkit using a multi-step process:
- Identification of past efforts and project objectives for food recovery and donation. After reviewing the previous food recovery toolkit, the recently completed food recovery & donation pilot, and holding key stakeholder interviews, Meko identified the need for a more thorough overview of food recovery & donation including linking the “why” to the “how” to better engage operators.
- Comprehensive information for present circumstances and future needs for front line implementation. Due to the variety of clients and types of sites Sodexo manages, the created toolkit focused on a generalized approach hitting on key considerations that all Sodexo’s operators would need to be aware of. He compiled and streamlined relevant information on food waste, benefits of food recovery & donation (social, environmental, business), food safety, liability restrictions, partnership establishment, data collection, and communication best practices.
- Collaborative production with varied stakeholder points of views. Adding his perspective as someone who had previously working in supporting food pantries, Meko closely produced the toolkit with members of the Corporate Social Responsibility Team, Former Front Line staff members, STOP Hunger Foundation (Sodexo’s foundation focused on hunger), and key stakeholders from food safety, legal, IT, etc.
Utilizing the comprehensive toolkit as a guide, donation of overproduced or potentially wasted food could be reduced up to 50% by each individual site if implemented. Furthermore, embedding food recovery and donation into standard operating procedures and data collection may lead to increased partnerships with community food banks and food advocacy organizations increasing the social impact of Sodexo NorAM as a whole.
As a result, Sodexo could move more consistently to their Better Tomorrow 2025 strategic corporate responsibility goals of reducing food waste by 50%, reducing carbon emissions by 34%, and acting sustainably for a hunger-free world.