Bon Appetit strives to reduce its carbon footprint

PALO ALTO Calif. Contract feeder Bon Appetit Management Co. said it would reduce its use of beef by 25 percent and strive to use ingredients from North America as part of a far-ranging plan to reduce its emission of so-called greenhouse gasses.

Bon Appetit said it developed the program in an attempt to lower the amount of CO2 emissions that are released through such activities as eating and driving, and possibly help to reverse the global warming trend. The initiative focuses in part on reducing transportation of supplies. The company, based here, said it will buy nearly all the meats, poultry and produce used at the company’s 400 accounts nationwide from North America sources. It also will serve only domestic bottled water.

“It is insane to sit down to lunch in Los Angeles and drink water that has traveled 5,000 miles from Fiji,” said Helene York, director of the Bon Appetit Management Co. Foundation, an affiliated organization that that planned the campaign. It begins April 22, which is Earth Day.

The contract feeder said it would reduce its beef use because livestock production accounts for 25 percent of greenhouse gasses.

Bon Appetit also pledged to reduce food waste by 25 percent over three years. Officials indicated the company also would audit the energy efficiency of its kitchen equipment.

In April of 2008, on Low Carbon Diet Day, the company will introduce a carbon point system so guests can calculate the environmental impact of their personal food choices and adjust accordingly.