Wendy’s Shows Commitment to Sustainability in 2022 Report

by | May 12, 2023

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A cheeseburger with a white bun, green lettuce, red onion, and red tomato.

(Credit: Canva Pro)

Wendy’s recently released its 2022 Corporate Responsibility report, highlighting the significant progress it has made in its Good Done Right ESG strategy. The report showcases achievements across three key pillars: Food, People, and Footprint, demonstrating Wendy’s commitment to driving positive change.

Liliana Esposito, chief corporate affairs and sustainability officer at Wendy’s, expressed pride in the collective efforts of the team, stakeholders, and franchisees in delivering on the company’s commitments while preparing for global growth and sustainability.

When asked about partnering with ethical businesses practicing sustainability, Esposito said, “We seek to partner with suppliers who share our values and commitment to giving back to their communities. Each year, we recognize suppliers who exemplify a commitment to enhancing Wendy’s corporate responsibility pillars of food, people, and footprint through our Good Done Right Award.”

Wendy’s Demonstrates Sustainability Through Responsible Sourcing

To demonstrate their commitment to sustainable businesses, as well as businesses that support rural communities, the company tested greenhouse-grown spring mix from AppHarvest, an Appalachian-based high-tech indoor farm.

In addition to their inclusion of sustainably-grown produce, Wendy’s has also made strides in responsible sourcing and animal welfare. According to the report, the company identified around 140 suppliers in scope for its responsible sourcing program, established criteria to measure progress, and partnered with a technology company to assess supplier performance. 

“Through our responsible sourcing program and in service of our goal to responsibly source our top 10 priority food categories by 2030 in the U.S. and Canada, we will require suppliers in scope for our responsible sourcing program to demonstrate progress against category-specific social and environmental criteria,” Esposito said. “We have designed our responsible sourcing program with some flexibility to support our suppliers, including smaller suppliers that may have fewer resources to devote to sustainability efforts. Our program allows suppliers to utilize pre-approved frameworks aligned to our goals or suggests alternatives based on their business structure and projects already underway that still support our objectives.” 

Wendy’s evaluated approximately 30 suppliers and 90 facilities through the Animal Care Standards Program, enabling the benchmarking of performance and identification of areas for improvement. Notably, Wendy’s achieved its 10-year goal of transitioning its pork supply chain in the U.S. and Canada away from sow gestation stalls to an open pen or group housing for pregnant sows.

Reducing Environmental Impact

But it’s not only adapting how food is sourced. The fast food chain runs the “Wendy’s Energy Challenge.”

Esposito said, “Since 2015, Wendy’s has invited franchisees within and outside the U.S. to undertake energy efficiency improvements and track and report their energy consumption through the Wendy’s Energy Challenge.” As of April 2023, 40 franchise organizations and company restaurants have enrolled in the challenge, representing nearly 3,000 restaurants. 

According to Esposito, participating restaurants have achieved energy efficiency and emissions reductions by implementing multiple projects, including retrofitting interior and exterior lighting, updating HVAC systems to high-efficiency units, transitioning freezers or refrigerators to a refrigerant with a lower global warming potential, and replacing kitchen equipment with newer, more efficient models.  

Even more, the company set aggressive science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its global system by 47% by 2030. Energy efficiency isn’t the company’s only goal. By 2026, the company also hopes to fully transition to sourcing 100% sustainably-made customer-facing packaging. 

The release of Wendy’s 2022 Corporate Responsibility report highlights the company’s dedication to making a positive impact on the environment, communities, and workforce. As Wendy’s continues to strive for sustainable growth, it sets an example for other companies in the fast-food industry to prioritize ESG practices and contribute to a more sustainable future.


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