The Wendy’s Co. will focus on responsible sourcing, sustainable packaging, greenhouse gas reduction and increasing diversity within its leadership, management and franchisees, the company said in releasing its 2020 Corporate Responsibility Report on Tuesday.
The Dublin, Ohio-based burger brand released its second annual report, noting that the company is still managing the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic but made progress toward its goals.
“We made tremendous strides in 2020, in part because we completed our first-ever comprehensive materiality assessment to inform our strategy,” wrote Todd Penegor, Wendy’s president and CEO, in the report. “With the help of outside experts, we engaged nearly 1,000 diverse stakeholders to identify Wendy’s most material topics that provide the greatest opportunity to make a positive impact.”
The survey began in the fall 2019 and continued into 2020.
In its 2020 report, Wendy's for the first time used reporting standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board.
Later this year, Wendy's said it will also report to the CDP (which was formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) for Climate for the first time.
"Wendy's is committed to transparency throughout our corporate responsibility journey," said Liliana Esposito, Wendy's chief corporate affairs and sustainability officer, in a statement. "That's why we are communicating and benchmarking our progress against globally recognized reporting frameworks, such as SASB and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We will continue to drive momentum on material topics and will regularly report our progress."
Among Wendy’s new goals outlined in the 2020 Corporate Responsibility Report:
- -Food: The company plans to responsibly source its Top 10 priority food categories by 2030. Wendy's is formalizing its approach by developing environmental and social criteria such as animal care standards, a human rights risk assessment and work with key supply-chain partners. The Top 10 priority food categories, determined by spend and impact, include products such as beef, chicken, pork, dairy, eggs, produce and beverages. The company is also working to reduce antibiotic use.
- People: The company wants to increase the representation of underrepresented populations among company leadership and management, as well as the diversity of Wendy's franchisees. Specific areas of focus include increasing representation of those who identify as female and persons of color. In March, Wendy’s hired Beverly Stallings-Johnson as its first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.
- Footprint: Wendy’s plans to sustainably source all of its customer-facing packaging by 2026. Over the next five years, Wendy's said it will optimize customer-facing packaging and transition to sustainable options including items that have a higher recycled content, use fewer raw materials, adhere to an established restricted substances list, are recyclable, compostable or reusable, and are sourced from areas that do not contribute to deforestation. The company also plans to benchmark and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and set a target by the end of 2023.
Wendy's, founded in 1969, has more than 6,800 restaurants worldwide.
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