Top 10 Ways to Introduce Sustainability and Food Sourcing

List Compiled by: James Thoma, CDM, CFPP

This Top 10 resource list offers examples of how to best introduce sustainability and food sourcing. This list will utilize sustainable seafood as an example. It’s important to understand the concepts of sustainability, so let’s start with definitions. Please note, these tactics may be applied to various sustainable food groups.

Sustainability: To preserve and to prevent further harm to the existing eco-systems and the earth’s natural resources. Participation in alternate methods or systems to meet today’s needs so that future generations will be able to function and meet their needs.

Sustainable Food Sourcing - Acquiring food from purveyors that support local economies within 100 miles of your facility and conducting business with companies within the food industry that have made specific commitments to preservation of the planet’s resources or eco-systems.

1. Educate Yourself

There are numerous websites and organizations that are focused on preserving various fish species and those that are endangered are labeled. Dig deep to learn about the fishing industry and gain factual information.

2. Educate Your Staff

Pass along your findings to your staff so they understand and buy into the goals you wish to attain. This could be included in a staff in-service.

3. Get Staff "on Board" 

You will need all the help and support to make any new initiative “stick” and have staying power to sustain itself. Be very specific with production and service staff with the “catch of the day,” where it comes from, and where it is sourced? (wild or line-caught).

4. "Go to the Top" and Educate your Administrators

Prepare a presentation and be prepared to “sell” your initiative and answer tough questions. Provide factual information and a cost/benefit analysis. How does this sustainable initiative benefit the ecological/carbon footprint of the facility? It may cost more money to support this type of program, so be prepared to find savings in your budget to offset any cost increases.

5. Start a Marketing Campaign

Provide posters, handouts, other informative collateral throughout your department and facility. Chances are, staff, residents, guests, and others may already support sustainability in their personal lives.

6. Pick One Initiative at a Time 

Set achievable and measurable goals that are quantifiable. Speak to your residents, patients, clients, or stakeholders. Ensure that they are aware of your goals. Do they approve? Do they like the new choices you are making? Get buy-in!

7. Walk the Talk

It is your project; be the leader and follow the rules. Set the example for all others to follow. You are the spokesperson and expert at your facility for sustainable fishing. Talk about it every day that you have the items to your production team, service staff, and residents.

8. Evaluate this Initiative After 30 60, and 90 Days

Report your numbers back to your clients, administrators and stakeholders. Prepare a report, posters, or market your results. Make weekly notes if your “catch of the day” is growing in popularity with acceptance among your guests and patients.

9. Reward Staff and Your Facility - Celebrate Your Accomplishments 

Create a thank you poster and keep track of future thresholds. Enthusiasm will keep your sustainability initiative active and ongoing.

10. Repeat

Return to step one and pick another sustainable item!

Click below to download a printable flyer with the information on this page. 

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