A Note From Fedele Bauccio: Sustainability is Everyone’s Job

Fedele Bauccio in Garden at AT&T Park

When I started this company in 1987, I knew I wanted it to be different. I wanted to disrupt the soggy steam table paradigm in corporate and campus dining and serve authentic, restaurant-quality food cooked by experienced chefs.  Intuitively, I knew that this meant seeking out the best possible ingredients, which first led me to local farmers and the foods they grow and raise. Local food, in turn, led us to sustainability more generally.  

Bon Appétit Management Company was early to sustainability movement. Our Dream has long focused on social and environmental responsibility, and our tagline, Food Service for a Sustainable Future, illuminates our Dream. But it’s always been about more than the message.  

From the start, we wanted to do right by our people, the land, the animals, and the communities we serve. At Bon Appétit, sustainability is not a buzzword or a pet project that gets cut when profits get tight. Sustainability is a throughline for us, woven into this company’s foundational way of being. It’s a central value for our company and it’s part of everyone’s job to bring that value to life in their work.  

We believe that it takes more than one person or one siloed team in a company to truly make sustainability a core operating principle. From our wellness and purchasing teams to our managers and cooks in the field, we strive for sustainability to be second nature across every level of our company.  

Our sustainability journey may have started with seeking out high-quality ingredients from farms within 150 miles of our cafés, but it’s developed into much more than that at Bon Appétit.  


Sustainability and Our Food   

When you apply the lens of sustainability to our food system, you quickly see how sustainability encompasses all aspects of it, in both upstream (what happens to food throughout the supply chain) and downstream (what happens to food after it is sold) contexts. It’s not only important for us to purchase as much locally produced food as we can, but to consider how land is stewarded, how workers are treated, what animal welfare practices are in place, and how far and by what means food has been shipped. This is where our purchasing team comes in – they work to manage and uphold our commitments and guidelines and find producers who align with our values and with whom we can grow and improve together.  

Once food enters our kitchens, we’re focused on sustainably managing what we’ve purchased. The managers and chefs in our cafés across the country work to minimize waste to the greatest extent possible, starting with from-scratch cooking using stem-to-root and nose-to-tail cooking techniques. We partner with food recovery organizations to donate food that might otherwise be wasted and encourage other innovative ways of closing the gap between food waste and food insecurity. We compost what we can’t upcycle or donate – it’s a team effort not only for Bon Appétit, but for our clients and our partners in the different communities where we work.  

At Bon Appétit, sustainability is not a buzzword or a pet project that gets cut when profits get tight. Sustainability is a throughline for us, woven into this company’s foundational way of being. 

Sustainability and Wellness: Good for People, Good for the Planet 

Just like sustainability principles are woven through our purchasing and culinary practices, wellness and sustainability are intertwined at Bon Appétit. Our approach to cooking emphasizes an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats – all foods that nourish our guests and have a more modest carbon footprint than menus heavy on meat, dairy, and processed foods.  

Our Wellness team of culinary nutritionists and chefs collaborates with our purchasing and communications leaders to develop our food standards in concert with our sustainability commitments, and to then convey those standards to our teams in the field. A recent series of plant-forward culinary trainings in cafés around the country helped us bring home the message that a way of eating that’s good for people is often very good for the planet, as well.   

Sustainability and Community 

Part of our mission around sustainability has always been to educate and inspire teams and guests alike on the issues surrounding our food system. Our Fellows program, started in 2009, hires recent college graduates to champion sustainability on the college campuses we serve. From engaging students in issues from farmworkers’ rights to food waste, the Fellows bring fresh perspectives to help us inspire the next generation of sustainable food advocates.  

Our marketing teams are also committed to spreading the word of sustainability by planning events and activations, like the Eat Local Challenge or our annual Earth Day celebration, that bring sustainability to life for our staff and guests. Spreading the word – and making it stick – is truly a group effort. 

I am proud to lead a company whose guiding principles are illuminated every day by the thousands of passionate people who work for Bon Appétit. When the values are as central to the operating system as they are in our company, we don’t need one person or committee to be our sustainability leader. We’re all leading the way forward, in collective pursuit of a more sustainable future.