We recently handed out our 2nd Annual LEAF Awards at the RC Show in Toronto. We thought we’d take a look back at one of our first recipients of a LEAF award, and find out if and how it has impacted their business.
Diversity Foodservices in Winnipeg, Manitoba, operates a number of restaurants including University of Winnipeg’s elements, Pangea’s Kitchen and Malecon, and Buffalo Stone Cafe. We asked COO Ian Vickers about winning a LEAF award.
Why did you apply for the LEAF awards?
IV: Sustainability is at the heart of the Diversity Foods mission. We like to work with LEAF because having a 3rd party check that we are truly on-track brings a new level to our verification process. We applied for the LEAF award because we have always thought of ourselves as leaders in the Sustainable Large Scale Food Service sector, and we wanted to know the validity of that claim.
What has the award changed in your business?
IV: Winning the LEAF award for most sustainable large food service establishment has brought a lot of pride to our team members. It reminds our line cooks that what they do every day has meaning and has a verifiable impact. We keep the award in a location where our whole campus team can see it as they start and end their days, to remind them that we are doing something unique here; and that uniqueness has been recognized by a national agency.
What do you like about the LEAF award?
IV: It increases the awareness of the importance of sustainability, and serves as a reminder that businesses can be sustainable actors and while they succeed financially.
What is the importance of investing in sustainability?
IV: Climate change is real. Resources are finite. A changing market of consumers now understand these things, and are willing to make purchasing decisions based on the ethics that a company presents. The old model of profit maximization by pillaging from those already socially, culturally, and economically disenfranchised or by raping our planets natural habitats is quickly becoming outdated. If a company wants to be relevant to its customers it now has to invest in sustainable systems that ensure equity for individuals in procurement, manufacturing and distribution systems as well as a solid plan for creation and disposal of goods that is either neutral or a benefit to the environment.
The corporate cheese has moved; move with it or starve.