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National Restaurant Association - Conserve Initiative

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Conserve Initiative

The National Restaurant Association’s Conserve program, begun in 2008, is a broad initiative that helps operators implement conservation practices that are good for the environment and their bottom line.

Moving conservation forward

As a thought leader, industry collaborator, clearinghouse of best practices, and reporter of conservation success stories, Conserve facilitates and expedites solutions that today’s restaurants increasingly use to protect the environment. Conserve is where restaurants turn for practical tips, suggestions and resources that simultaneously reduce their costs and bolster their bottom line.


Meet Conserve, a driver of restaurant industry-focused, environmentally friendly conservation practices. Conserve functions as a catalyst of new solutions, garnering and generating ideas from across the industry, sharing them online and delivering them through its education program. The program primarily addresses four core areas of conservation: energy efficiency, water conservation, building and construction, and waste reduction and resource management. It has become the restaurant industry’s one-stop shop for conservation solutions.


The Conserve Sustainability Education Program is an online resource that provides participating restaurateurs with a customized roadmap to reducing their energy usage, waste and water consumption. Its program is tailored to each operator’s restaurant concept and hectic schedule, and includes tools such as checklists, industry-tested best practices and videos.


Conserve collaborates with other organizations, such as the Food Service Technology Center, Zero Waste Zones and EPA Energy Star, to advance the field of conservation across the restaurant industry. These partnerships have led to the Sustainable Food Court Initiative for sustainable practices in multi-tenant programs, to new best practices for achieving zero waste at restaurant operations, and to invaluable research on restaurant conservation practices, implementation and demand.

  • 2012

    • Conserve will establish closer ties with state restaurant associations to promote Conserve and identify good news stories to share

    • The Conserve website will include resources on food as it relates to sustainability

  • 2011

    • Conserve started pursuing partnerships and relationships with supporters in waste reduction and recycling

  • 2010

    • In the spring, the program portal was launched in "pilot" stage, with participating restaurants from the Conserve Action Council and some friends of the Program taking part

    • In May, we introduced the Conserve Solutions Center for operators looking for products and technologies focused on sustainability and held a session on water conservation with EPA Energy Star

    • In May, we introduced the Conserve Solutions Center for operators looking for products and technologies focused on sustainability and held a session on water conservation with EPA Energy Star

    • From a policy standpoint, Conserve supported Building Star

  • 2009

    • The NRA began construction of what would become the Conserve Sustainability Education Program, focusing on “low-hanging fruit” and offering “bite-sized chunks” of information for operators on their sustainability journey

    • The NRA Show dedicated a track of educational programming to “green” issues, including presentations from the Food Service Technology Center on energy efficiency and equipment; we also encouraged more than 700 people to sign up for the EPA Energy Star Challenge

  • 2008

    • President & CEO Dawn Sweeney elevated sustainability as one of the NRA’s top four imperatives

    • In May, the first iteration of the Conserve platform launched with tools, resources, tips and videos

    • With support from theTurner Foundation, we identified key areas of sustainability where tools/solutions would be of particular benefit for our restaurant operators

    • The Sustainability and Social Responsibility Board Committee and Conserve Action Council realized that while the clearinghouse of information was helpful to operators, restaurants were looking for instruction on how to take steps toward becoming a more sustainable operation

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