April 22 is Low Carbon Diet Day

17 April 2009

Global warming has become front-page news as scientists, policymakers and ordinary citizens debate what can be done to reduce its harmful effects. Remarkably, the connection between food and climate change is rarely discussed, even though research shows that agriculture and the food system overall is responsible for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, and dietary choices can equal the difference between driving an efficient sedan versus a large SUV. Bon App├ętit Management Company is changing the national conversation and encouraging our chefs and guests to think about how their food choices could help reduce climate change.

After reviewing scientific literature and analyzing the supply chain for certain foods, we designed the Low Carbon Diet program. Our goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions created by the highest impact areas of our business by 25%. To achieve this, we have given our staff and guests meaningful tools to evaluate the global warming potential of different food choices.

The Low Carbon Diet is a three year project involving:

1. Bringing the issue of the food system’s impact on climate change to national prominence

2. Sourcing nearly all of our fruits, vegetables, meats, and water from North America

3. Providing science-based educational materials so our guests can make “lower carbon” food choices

4. Reducing food waste and innovating creative options for used frying oil and compostable vegetable matter

5. Auditing the energy and water efficiency of our kitchen equipment

6. Hosting an annual Low Carbon Diet Day to create awareness and spur our guests to make change

With the Low Carbon Diet, we are the first restaurant company to take responsibility for the connection between food and global warming.