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National Restaurant Association - Sustainability

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Events & Groups



The 2019 Sustainability Executive Study Group meeting will feature some of the biggest names in the foodservice industry and what they are doing to increase sustainability in their own operations. From sustainable sourcing to animal welfare to the future of sustainability in restaurants, join us for a day of candid conversation about the progress being made in the foodservice industry to reduce restaurants environmental impact for the benefit of their consumers and bottom lines.

Network with sustainability and sourcing professionals who face the same challenges, and share on-target, specialized experiences. What better way to discover best practices, solutions to stubborn problems, or opportunities for advancement than from restaurant leaders in your field? 2019 meeting information will be available soon!


Our group's member-only Listserv is an effective way to ask your colleauges questions, share news, and contribute to discussions on issues important to professionals in your field. To be eligible, you must work full-time in the field of sustainability (or related-field) for a company that is a restaurant member of the National Restaurant Association. Click here to subscribe.

To send questions to the Listserv, please email sustainability@lists.restaurant.org

2018 Conference Recap

Sustainability experts in the restaurant industry came together April 3-4, 2018 to participate in our second annual Sustainability Executive Study Group meeting.

The meeting featured presentations from sustainability thought leaders at Chick-fil-A and Darden Restaurants, among others. Making the business case for sustainability, the correlation between sustainability programs at work and employee engagement, an update on animal welfare and the state of sustainable sourcing in the industry were among the topics of discussion.

Max Elder of Institute for the Future spoke to the group about the urgent future of sustainability. He noted that one of the most important things restaurateurs need to know is that consumers want to understand the connections between their food, their health, the environment and the conditions in which the food is produced. He also said advances in technology are going to change the how and where diners consume their food.

One panel during the meeting focused on the relationship between sustainability engagement at work and employee satisfaction. A couple of key insights indicated that:

  • 76% of employees at companies with sustainability programs agreed with the statement: “my company is making a positive impact in the world, while 62 percent at companies without sustainability programs agreed with the statement. That’s a difference of 14%, which indicates a direct correlation between sustainability programs and improved employee engagement.
  • 86% of employees at companies with sustainability programs said they are somewhat or very excited about their work, compared with 79% at companies that don’t participate in sustainability programs.

Laura Abshire, our director of sustainability policy, said seeing so many restaurant companies come together to discuss these important issues was gratifying. “As consumer interest in environmental sustainability continues to increase, it’s evident that restaurant companies are paying attention and taking action.”

For more information about sustainability at restaurants, visit our Conserve program.

2018 Presentations

2018 Sustainability Executive Study Group Presentations: Click here to access the presentations

Note: You will need a username & password to access the presentations. To receive a username & password, please email meetings@restaurant.org. Presentations are only open to Sustainability Executive Study Group meeting attendees.

Restaurant Leaders Talk Sustainability


Contact Jeff Clark, Sustainability & Nutrition Program Director at jclark@restaurant.org.

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