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We are making a conscious and collective effort to minimize our company’s environmental impact and are encouraging our Team Members to do the same.
Addressing climate change and other environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues is a complex and constantly evolving process, and our expertise is in providing exceptional dining experiences for our guests. Therefore, we rely significantly on the efforts, learning, tools, and recommendations of scientists, partners, and our communities to guide our ongoing emissions reduction efforts.
Board of Directors level oversight of our ESG effort ensures that these issues are prioritized and that there is responsibility, accountability and alignment throughout our business. The Nominating and Governance Committee discusses the company’s ESG strategy and progress at least quarterly, and that work is reported to the Board of Directors for additional awareness and guidance.
We continuously work to improve energy efficiency, reduce water use and conserve natural resources in our restaurants.
Finding new and more sustainable packaging and supplies for our to-go, catering and dine-in orders is an ongoing priority.
We constantly are refining our business processes and seeking new innovations to reduce reduce food waste in our operations.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction
We assessed our greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint in our U.S. company-owned restaurants for operational emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) based on 2019 usage, establishing a baseline inventory to guide our emissions reduction efforts moving forward. All references to assessments and baseline inventory are measurements of Scopes 1 and 2.
The assessment was conducted by an independent consulting services and software company that specializes in technical analysis and innovation for efficiency and renewable resources. The company has considerable experience in the development, reporting and verification of GHG emissions information for industrial, utility, municipal and corporate organizations.
The Bloomin’ Brands baseline was developed in accordance with the revised GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard as supplemented by the Corporate Value Chain Accounting and Reporting Standard. The procedures developed and executed during the development of the Bloomin’ Brands inventory for Reporting Years 2019 and 2020 satisfy ISO Standard 14064-1. The initial assessment determined that in 2019, the company used an average of approximately 329 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (mtCO2e) per restaurant.
Using the baseline from 2019, we aspire to reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 total GHG emissions by approximately half by 2030 and to net zero by 2050, the targets necessary to limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C. In 2020, the company lowered its emissions to an average of approximately 286 mtCO2e per restaurant.
We recognize that actions to reduce emissions cannot be limited to our own operations; we must also take steps to address GHG emissions where they are most challenging, including within our supply chain. Through engagement with our suppliers and our extended supply chain (e.g., food processors and distributors, transportation, and logistics partners, etc.) we will work to reduce and mitigate the climate impact of our raw materials. Please review the Land-Based Proteins section for more information about this work.
TOTAL SCOPE 1 & 2 GHG EMISSIONS INTENSITY
During 2020 we reduced total GHG emissions by 15% and continue to identify new opportunities. Our first focus is on energy consumption, and we are making upgrades to more efficient equipment for cooking, heating, cooling and lighting.
MAKING AN IMPACT: 2020 GHG EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS IN NATURAL GAS AND ELECTRIC COMPARED TO 2019
We continue to seek renewable energy sources in our drive toward energy independence and are developing a procurement program to help achieve this goal. We are members of the Clean Energy Buyers Alliance to improve our knowledge and help inform decisions related to our climate goals. Throughout our operations we are working to identify new ways to reduce our carbon footprint, from evaluating more efficient kitchen equipment to exploring emerging renewable energy solutions.
The use of more efficient, ENERGY STAR® certified equipment has led the charge in reducing energy consumption. Just a few of these innovations, which vary by site, include high-efficiency HVAC units with smart thermostats, on-demand tankless water heaters, energy recovery bar glass washers, and active energy management systems. Most restaurants have been retrofitted with LED lighting to improve efficiency and all new restaurants are specified with LED.
We are incorporating many Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design™ (LEED) standards throughout our new restaurant building and construction practices, and as we remodel, we are retrofitting restaurants with the same standards.
We are using a wide range of water-saving equipment including low-flow faucets, dishwasher spray nozzles, and pasta-cookers. In addition, we have new processes for washing floors and inspecting for leaks to reduce our consumption of water.
The heated dipper well, pans of heated water that keeps utensils food safe, saves up to 250,000 gallons of water, per well, per year, compared to continual-flow wells that perpetually feed and flush out water.
As we build new locations, we will continue to seek to use new, more efficient equipment to make sure we do our part to preserve water for future generations.
Recycling and Packaging
Recycling efforts in our restaurants help divert waste from landfills each year. Additional innovations ranging from cardboard recycling to cork recycling are being reviewed as we continually seek new ways to reduce our environmental impact.
We are seeking new and more sustainable packaging and supplies for use throughout our restaurants. As part of our ongoing efforts, we endeavor to use paper bags made from 100% recycled material, entrée containers are now reusable, and we encourage
a reduction in straw usage. The impact of the pandemic necessitated some container substitutions; we are returning to customary packaging as supplies become available.
Numerous measures have been implemented in our restaurants to reduce the amount of excess food that is prepared, using demand forecasting and more efficient food preparation methods. These expanding efforts have reduced food waste by 50% over the past six years, and reductions continue.
When we do find ourselves with more food than we can serve, we engage our ongoing partnership with the Food Donation Connection network and other food assistance programs to feed those in need. Our restaurants have donated more than 14 million pounds
of excess food in the last eight years.
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