Sustainability isn’t just for the big players in the food industry; small businesses can also adopt sustainable practices and be part of the solution to the environmental challenges we face.
The food sector has been identified as one of the most carbon-intensive industries, producing approximately 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Food production also accounts for about 30% of our electricity consumption. And with rising demand for more nutritious foods, it’s expected that the food sector will account for a larger share of global energy usage in response.
This means that the food industry has a huge opportunity to help mitigate climate change and contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment.
Pending GHG Emissions Proposal in California
The proposed legislation is in California — Senate Bill 260, the Climate Corporate Accountability Act. It would require a demand response from fast-food chains to cut their GHG emissions by 25% by 2025, compared to 2005 levels. The proposal also requires chain restaurants to post their GHG emissions online and report on their efforts to reduce emissions.
The proposal was introduced in the US Senate by Senator Scott Weiner, a Democrat from San Francisco. It would apply to restaurants with more than 20 locations nationwide.
This is a positive step forward for the fast-food industry in one state, but there’s still a long way to go.
Reducing Environmental Impact
There are many ways to reduce the impact of food production on the environment. While all food production comes with a carbon footprint, there are ways to reduce that footprint.
How Can We Reduce The Carbon Footprint Of Food Production?
To reduce their carbon footprint, fast food businesses and franchises can:
- Monitor energized equipment and maintain temperature controls
- Monitor interior and exterior lighting
- Set equipment temperature and performance standards and best practices
- Use more sustainable ingredients, such as plant-based protein and whole grains
- Switch to renewable energy sources, like solar and wind power
- Encourage more sustainable packaging and transport
- Provide incentives for producers who engage in sustainable farming practices
These changes can have a significant impact on reducing the carbon footprint of food production. And as more businesses adopt these practices, the collective impact will be even greater.
Another option to consider is demand response. This is where businesses agree to reduce their energy consumption during times of high demand, such as peak hours. This can help to relieve pressure on the grid and reduce the overall carbon footprint of the food industry.
The key to reducing the impact of the food industry is collaboration. By working together, we can find solutions that work for everyone.
The fast food industry has an opportunity to lead the way in sustainability and help create a better future for us all.
What Can I Do?
Individuals can also contribute by making minor changes to their diets. For example, if you eat a lot of meat, try cutting down on red meat to reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re a vegetarian, you can opt for a plant-based diet that doesn’t include animal products.
Another option is to switch to locally-produced foods. This reduces the amount of transportation needed to bring food to your plate and can help prevent the loss of biodiversity and habitat.
The food you buy can also have a significant impact on the environment. For example, a study conducted by the Worldwatch Institute found that switching to cage-free eggs and milk can result in savings of up to 70% of your food’s carbon footprint.
You can also look for companies that are actively engaged in sustainable farming. This includes companies that have an overall goal of reducing their environmental impact while improving the health of their workers.
What Are The Benefits Of Sustainable Food?
When you buy food that’s grown using sustainable methods, you’re supporting local economies and communities, reducing the need for chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and avoiding the loss of biodiversity and habitat.
And by choosing to buy food that’s sustainably produced, you’re also supporting small farmers and the environment.
Why Should I Choose Sustainable Food?
Food is an integral part of our daily lives, and it has a tremendous impact on the world around us.
Choosing to buy sustainable food is the right thing to do for your health, the health of the planet, and the well-being of the people who grow and produce our food.
By choosing to buy sustainable food, you’re also helping to support small farms and local economies and communities, contributing to a more sustainable world.
Start by shopping at local farmer’s markets or buying from local grocery stores. You can also learn about sustainable food at home and in your community by visiting a farmer’s market or checking out the Sustainable Food Lab at the University of Guelph.
Work With GSE To Improve Operational Efficiency
We expect to see more legislation in line with California’s proposed bill in the near future. Increased focus on climate change and its impact will affect food businesses of all sizes.
GSE is here to help your business grow and thrive. As a leading commercial energy management company, we efficiently utilize existing resources while providing energy savings, environmental benefits, and improved operational efficiency. As a result, we reduce costs, improve the bottom line, and positively impact the planet.