Programs selected for the awards were honored for their market penetration and innovation in helping customers or stakeholders to achieve both water and energy savings through efficiency. The lessons learned by these programs can be found in a new report - Tackling the Nexus: Exemplary Programs that Save Both Energy and Water - released by ACEEE and AWE. The report states, “Darden’s efforts demonstrate that for many companies, it is easy to start a resource saving program and that there is significant savings to be had at little cost. Additionally, these easy measures provide the basis for developing a continuous improvement approach to resource management.”
What is important to note is how this program began and why it continues today. As noted in the report, during restaurant tours in 2008 and 2009, the leadership of Darden heard from many employees about their concern for the environment. Since more than 70% of the 185,000 employees at Darden are under 30, sustainability has become an important part of the Darden culture. More than 10,000 green team members are working each day to make sure we reduce our energy and water through a variety of conservation practices, including power-up schedules, thermostat management, and new kitchen processes that reduce the amount of water needed to operate our restaurants.
Sustainability is constantly changing and companies like Darden must continue to advance. However, as noted in my recent post on Environmental Leader, “Corporate sustainability is less about the size of the staff and more about how people across the company are embedding sustainability throughout their work.” So congratulations to our 185,000 employees for making our sustainability efforts possible. The recognition from ACEEE and AWE are a testament to their commitment to sustainability.
As stated by our founder Bill Darden, "I am convinced that the only edge we have on our competition is the quality of our employees as reflected each day by the job they do.”