On Wednesday, Panera Bread announced that it would become the first fast and casual restaurant to commit to becoming climate positive by 2050. Although the year 2050 may seem far away, Panera has organized a plan in line with The Paris Agreement schedule, putting them on track to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit over the next 30 years. In light of this news, Value spoke with Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary and VP of Sustainability Sara Burnett to discuss their goals and how the company plans to achieve them. Ahead of the 2050 target, however, Panera has set three main goals to achieve by 2025: Transform their bakery and cafe menu to be 60% fresh meals; update all their packaging to be 100% recyclable, reusable and compostable; and devote 50% of its national operations to the use of renewable energies.
Panera has always had a strong commitment to sustainable development and has kept its commitments in terms of reducing its emissions. In 2017, Panera made a commitment to reduce its direct carbon footprint by 15% by 2022 and was able to achieve that goal this year. Chaudhary explained that sustainability has always been a priority in the restaurant chain and now is more than ever time to take drastic action. “We don’t inherit the world, we borrow it from our children,” Chaudhary said Value, and this prospect has led Panera to become a sustainability leader in the fast food and casual restaurant industry.
One of the ways that Panera is at the forefront of the industry when it comes to sustainability is through its Cool Food Meals, which are climate-friendly menu items and labeled as such. Burnett explained that at Panera, they don’t believe the shift to predominantly climate-friendly meals means their customers have to sacrifice flavor or quality. In fact, some of their most popular dishes, such as Chicken Chipotle Avocado Fondue and Broccoli Cheddar Soup, are on their Cool Food menu. By providing information about their eco-friendly meal choices on its menu, Panera harnesses the power of the conscious consumer, and the potential impact is staggering. “If every American replaced 10 quarter-pound burgers and fries with 10 Chicken Chipotle Avocado Panera sandwiches and fries, that alone would be equivalent to taking 16 million cars off the road in the United States for a year,” Chaudhary said.
Panera has recognized that providing information to its customers can have a massive environmental impact that does not necessarily have to come at the expense of its shareholders. Chaudhary notes that the key to lasting sustainability is figuring out how to make sustainable choices that ultimately strengthen your business, because protecting the financial viability of the business is the only way to ensure the longevity of a climate positive model. Panera’s goal – to eliminate more carbon than it emits by 2050 – is ambitious and some of the challenges the company will face are predictable. âWe want to move to 50% green energy, but only 21% of energy sources in the United States are green,â Chaudhary explains, âand so for me that’s a test of leadership.â
As the first fast food chain to announce its commitment to climate positivity, Panera hopes to make an impact not only within its industry, but across the entire supply chain. Burnett pointed out Value that âin addition to our industry peers, it is also about involving the food industry at large, because in order for us to achieve our climate goals, our impact goes back to the farmer and then to the ” to the landfill where the waste [goes] To. And so we really hope to involve our industry peers, but also the entire supply chain. ”
âBy raising our ambition and saying that neutral is not enough, positive is what we need, we hope our industry peers will join us,â Chaudhaury said.
By cultivating an awareness of its corporate-wide environmental impact, Panera has been able to set and meet its climate change targets so far, and this announcement is the next step in Panera’s long history of sustainability initiatives that the company hopes will encourage others to do the same.
Panera Bread Post Becomes First Fast-Food Restaurant Chain to Commit to Climate Positivity First Appeared on Worth.