Earlier this year, Sodexo took the initiative to publicize vegetarian options through Meatless Mondays in more than 900 hospitals. Now, it's rolling the program out to more than 2,000 government and corporate clients including Toyota, Northern Trust Bank and the U.S. Department of the Interior. The advantages of reducing (or eliminating) consumption of meat and dairy are probably obvious to TreeHugger readers: it's one of the simplest, quickest ways to lighten your environmental footprint as well as give your health a quick boost. It's great now to see that being recognized—and put into practice—at the corporate level.
A corporate manager for Toyota said: "Meatless Monday has been successful here primarily because Sodexo helps our customers understand that it is not at all about becoming vegetarians or even weight loss, it's about taking easy steps to guard our health and be good stewards of our environment."
GreenBiz quotes Arlin Wasserman, Sodexo's vice president for sustainability: "We make it very attractive, compelling and much easier than anything else to eat vegetarian."
Asked whether the move could be interpreted as trying to tell people what to do—a statement I hear often and find offensive for several reasons, not least because by not offering vegetarian options, you're still telling people what to do, just encouraging the less sustainable choice—Wasserman told GreenBiz:
"We're in the business of making choices... we're making choices that reflect our concern and our clients and customers' concern about the environment, the ability of the world to feed itself in the future, and our own health."
With Sodexo serving about 10 million people every day, the impact that just one (smarter) meal choice can have across the board is pretty significant.
"Plant-based food options are not only healthier, they are better for the environment, Wasserman said. "Meat production can be a significant source of http://">carbon and water emissions. Reducing meat consumption in our diets is an easy step we can all take to lead healthier lives and contribute to a more sustainable food system."
More on Meatless Mondays
Sodexo Starts Meatless Mondays Nationwide
Meatless Mondays Gains Momentum: 5 Universities Adopt the Program
Oprah Takes on Veganism, Harpo Studios Institutes Meatless Mondays
Fish Free Fridays Add New Option to Greening Meal Plans