This year’s World Water Day has been named the “International Year of Water Cooperation,” focusing on the importance of managing water resources. Since 1993, World Water Day has educated people around the globe on the importance of water by highlighting a specific aspect of fresh water each year. World Water Day asks businesses and consumers to evaluate their water use habits and think beyond our current supply. Understanding your personal water use, or your businesses water use, is a crucial first step in understanding the bigger picture.
World Water Day is celebrated in countries all over the world. More than 20 events will be taking place in the U.S. and a list of all events can be found here. We encourage everyone to get involved in events taking place in their community or even just by opening a dialogue about water usage in your life.
Here at Darden, we aim to be mindful stewards by reducing our water consumption. Due to the hard work of our 185,000 employees, we reduced our water use per restaurant by 17% while adding 200 restaurants since 2008. This more than exceeds our 2015 goal to reduce water consumption by 15 percent per restaurant! As a result, we have saved 1 billion gallons of water.
This improvement is due, in part, to the installation of low flow pre-rinse sprayers, hand-washing sink aerators, more efficient pasta cookers, and new dipper well technology that allows our guests and staff use less water. We also use landscaping appropriate to the local climate, thereby reducing irrigation demands. At our Restaurant Support Center (RSC) we are using reclaimed water for the toilets and irrigation system.
Outside the walls of Darden, we support the restoration of the Florida Everglades through the Everglades Foundation. In collaboration, we look to restore the critical ecosystem and help provide clean water for all Floridians. As seen here in this video, Katie Glenn, a Darden team member, takes a visit to see first-hand the results of the Darden Foundation's support.
As we observe World Water Day here at Darden, we are consistently evaluating what more we can do to help manage our water resources. We are exploring new technologies and new ways to improve our use of water. We are beginning conversations with our suppliers to understand how they can reduce water in the production of the food we serve to our guests. It’s truly a collaborative effort.
What are you doing to conserve water?
Brandon Tidwell is Manager of Sustainability for Darden Restaurants. In this role, he is responsible for the development and implementation of corporate sustainability strategies and policies across all of Darden. Brandon joined Darden from FedEx and is a candidate for a Master’s in Business Administration at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business. He also holds a master’s degree in Social Work from Baylor and a certificate in Philanthropy from New York University.