Acterra, a non-profit organization in Silicon Valley dedicated to the promotion of a healthy and sustainable planet, recently awarded Bon Appétit Management Company with its prestigious annual Award for Sustainability. Bon Appétit, which is the University’s resident food service partner, was the winner in the Large Organization category for 2016, recognized for its continued emphasis in areas such as eating local, farmers’ rights, and the humane treatment of farm animals.
Bon Appétit was one of five finalists for the prize, the others being Genentech, New Resource Bank, SCS Global Services, and Surplus Service. The competition was judged primarily by sustainability experts from San Francisco Bay Area corporations.
“Bon Appétit has brought the concepts of sustainability to the food service industry and is truly a leader when it comes to local purchasing, animal welfare, and minimizing environmental impact,” wrote the judges in a decision statement.
The award is a subcategory of Acterra’s Business Environmental Award. To qualify for the Award for Sustainability, eligible companies must endure a rigorous selection process that involves in-person meetings with the selection committee, visits to facilities, and many rounds of follow-up questions prior to the decision. In a Bon Appétit email, CEO and Cofounder Fedele Bauccio was thankful that the company’s efforts have not gone unnoticed.
“We’re very honored—we know that our competition for this award was stiff,” he wrote in the email. “While it’s wonderful to have our work acknowledged by Acterra, we still have so much to do to fix our broken food system.”
In addition, in the email, Acterra Executive Director Adam Stern also commented on the winners.
“We’re excited to be recognizing these leaders, who are setting examples for other businesses and organizations to follow,” the email reads.
Cafe Supervisor Jenn Baars, who has been working at the University for two and a half years, is particularly satisfied with Bon Appétit’s Farm to Fork program, which requires chefs working for the company to purchase 20 percent of their ingredients from farms and producers that are no farther than 150 miles away from the kitchen where they are prepared.
“I do feel that Bon Appétit’s Farm to Fork program is really great for smaller local farms to provide for their families while providing us with fresher and healthier produce,” Baars said.
Bon Appétit’s Chief Strategy and Brand Officer Maisie Ganzler cited the company’s Low Carbon Lifestyle program as a likely reason that the company was selected as this year’s winner. The goal of the program is to place an increased emphasis on investing in more plant-based sources of protein, mitigating food waste, encouraging energy-efficient methods of transportation, and discouraging deforestation.
The company’s Food Standards Dashboard is another system that Ganzler believes helped Bon Appétit stand apart from the competition. Produced by Bon Appétit’s own team of developers, the software collects and organizes data to make supervisors aware of adherence to company guidelines to ensure that all goals are on track to being achieved.
“It’s an inward-facing tool that uses technology to create a dashboard to measure our compliance to our own sustainability initiative for our managers to see,” Ganzler said. “[The judges] seemed very interested in that measurement piece [which gives] our managers actionable data.”
The company continually searches for ways to uphold its commitment to wellness and reducing negative environmental impact while encouraging clients to make smart decisions about the types of food they choose to eat. In a recent report published by Bon Appétit, the company’s dedication to ensuring the Five Freedoms of animal welfare was the focal point of its to-do list for the future. In addition, the report detailed achievements thus far, highlighting the elimination of foie gras, crated veal, and pork products from pigs raised in gestation crates.
Founded in 1987 and based in Palo Alto, Calif., Bon Appétit is the premier company to encourage environmental consciousness on a companywide scale. In addition to offering food service at the University, Bon Appétit manages the culinary needs of a wide array of colleges, organizations, and companies. Many of its notable clients are located in the Bay Area, including Google, Williams-Sonoma, and Santa Clara University.
All of the Acterra award recipients of 2016 will be recognized at the Business Environmental Awards Reception on May 26 at Intuit in Mountain View.