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Yum! Brands chief sustainability officer on going green

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This guest post is by Roger McClendon, chief sustainability officer of Yum! Brands. Yum! Brands has more than 38,000 restaurants and is adding about 1,500 per year.  See what this global company is doing to feed the world and make a step toward environmental sustainability.

At Yum! Brands, we care about how we operate and grow our businesses around the globe and understand that we have a responsibility to our customers, employees and shareholders to be forward-thinking and intentional in executing our environmental sustainability vision, which is focused on:

  • Reducing our environmental impact
  • Operating our restaurants more efficiently
  • Improving our restaurant economics, thereby increasing our profitability
  • Reinforcing the positive reputation of our global brands

We are acting boldly to support this vision.  In 2011, we are committed to minimizing our environmental impact by:

  • Reducing our global energy and water consumption 10% by 2015
  • Developing LEED-certifiable restaurant standards and prototypes in five markets stretching around the globe by 2012
  • Elevating Yum’s sustainability packaging vision into actionable brand goals

By leveraging new technology in our restaurants, such as new LED lighting, improved hood designs, high-efficiency heating and air conditioning systems and better environmental management control systems, we will deliver on this vision.

In April, KFC’s first “certifiably green” single-brand restaurant opened in Indianapolis. This follows the 2009 opening of a KFC/Taco Bell in Northampton. Mass.  This multibrand unit was the first LEED Gold certified restaurant in our system and is a proven example of how we make environmental sustainability work in our restaurants by focusing on four key areas:

  • Carbon reduction
  • Lighting reduction
  • Water usage reduction
  • Selecting building materials to meet the criteria of the U.S. Green Building Council

The Indianapolis KFC, also submitted for LEED certification, was designed to use 25% less energy and water than a conventional restaurant.

Its features include energy-efficient, long-lasting LED lighting that shouldn’t need to be replaced for up to 10 years; automated energy management and monitoring systems; reduced-care landscaping; and a simplified cooking oil handling system. We are also bringing natural light into the back-of-house to benefit the work environment; optimizing the hood design for comfort and energy savings; and using low water-use restroom fixtures.

Less than a year ago, I was appointed chief sustainability officer, and it’s my job, working with a great team, to seize this tremendous opportunity to make a powerful impact toward environmental sustainability at Yum! and our brands.  It will require everyone working together, leveraging innovation and adopting a sustainability mindset in the way we do business every day.

We are committed to being the best in the world at building great brands and running great restaurants — and always caring about how we operate and grow our businesses around the globe.

Photo of Roger McClendon courtesy of Yum! Brands.

What are your sustainability goals? Share them in the comments and on Twitter.