The National Restaurant Association (NRA) started its Conserve program in 2009 to help restaurants become more sustainable businesses and save money. They recently released their second Sustainability Report, which was full of highlights from a successful 2014. Here is a brief recap of the report:
- More Resources for Restaurateurs
- The NRA launched the Conserve webpage, making it easier for restaurateurs to access information about environmentally friendly business practices that reduce waste and save money. Just a few of the resources on the site include blogs, expert advice, tools, and case studies.
- The first issue of “Bright Ideas” was released. The monthly newsletter is intended to help restaurant operators better understand how sustainability impacts their businesses and communities, financially and environmentally.
- The organization partnered with other sustainability-focused organizations, such as the EPA’s Energy Star program and the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, and are working to develop education materials and toolkits that will help the industry become more environmentally responsible.
- Research & Reports
- The NRA partnered with Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy to look at how restaurants could divert material away from landfills and reduce food waste.
- The NRA released their second “Spotlight on Sustainability” report, featuring industry experts from the NRA Show 2014. They provided advice for becoming more environmentally friendly, including tips for using local ingredients and becoming more energy efficient.
- Results from NRA’s report “Gauging the Restaurant Industry’s Interest in Sustainability” revealed that of the quick service operators surveyed, 75% recycle used fryer oil, fats and grease, over 60% recycle cardboard and paper, or use products made of recycled materials, and 30% installed faucet aerators to conserve water.
- Community Outreach
- Jeff Clark, program director for Conserve, and Laura Abshire, NRA’s sustainability director, spoke at several sustainability events throughout the year, including Earth Day Texas, the S. Zero Waste Business Council annual conference and the University of Pennsylvania’s “Last Food Mile” summit.
- The Zero Waste Zones program was launched in Atlanta. NRA teamed up with the Georgia Restaurant Association to educate restaurateurs about improving water and energy efficiency and recycling food waste.
- The NRA got involved with Share the Gulf, an alliance of chefs, restaurateurs, seafood suppliers, fishermen, and conservationists that work together to protect access to fish in the Gulf states.
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