All the Sodexo restaurant services at Santander Group City have been awarded Ecocook level-3 Sustainable Restaurant Certification. 

Ecocook, the “Michelin star in sustainability”, recognises the sustainable practices of Sodexo and Santander, and their commitment to people’s health and the environment.

Madrid, 27 January 2019.

Sodexo Iberia has begun the Ecocook certification process for the catering services it provides to large companies. The first to obtain the Ecocook Sustainable Restaurant certification is Santander Group City, in Madrid. 

This process is part of the Sodexo group’s worldwide policy of continuous improvement and sustainability, which aims to help improve the quality of life of the 100 million users it serves each day.

The Ecocook certification programme recognises the best sustainability practices of restaurants based on some 200 evaluation criteria that determine whether a restaurant is sustainable and its level of sustainability. The assessment covers eight main areas: sustainable procurement, healthy and responsible cooking, transparency, reduction of water and energy consumption, use of toxic-free cleaning products, waste reduction, equity and training, and assistance with social and environmental impact.

For Carina Cabezas, Chairman of Sodexo Iberia, “this certification goes beyond recognising the huge effort we are making to minimise the environmental impact of our activity. For us, this is primarily a commitment based on specific objectives to further increase our positive impact and improve the quality of life of the people to whom we offer our services.” 

Belén Sánchez Miguel, head of Santander’s General Services and Own Insurance area, explains that “we are very proud to support projects that help Santander become more sustainable by the day. One of the priorities of the restaurants we manage for our employees is that they aim to be environmentally friendly, and this is achieved by the collaboration among various teams that are convinced about this goal and fully involved in attaining it.”

Santander and Sodexo have worked together to develop a healthy and balanced cuisine, and to roll out initiatives to promote healthy lifestyles among Santander’s employees. The aspects most valued by Ecocook include measures such as ensuring that fresh, non-processed produce accounts for at least 70% of foodstuffs used in cooking, that more than 50% of the food is plant-based and that there is a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options, as well as special diets adapted to users’ needs.

Other important aspects include communication (information is provided on the nutritional values and allergens of all dishes) and the resources, products and materials used. It is regarded as particularly positive that Sodexo works with suppliers that have a strategy to reduce the pollution associated with the distribution activity and that 100% of electricity at Santander Group City comes from renewable sources. In addition, Sodexo Iberia has a team of nutritionists that revises the recipes to ensure their nutritional balance.

With this and other environmental measures, under the slogan “the best waste is no waste”, Sodexo Iberia has managed to reduce the number of PET bottles used for water and soft drinks each day at Santander Group City from 4,180 to zero at present. Another achievement is the annual saving of more than 12 tonnes of plastic waste. There is also a management system in place to reduce water and energy consumption, which includes rainwater recovery and the use of LED technology. According to Ecocook, “Sodexo has implemented a truly impeccable system for managing quality and safety.”

The certification awarded to Santander verifies that Sodexo’s catering services at the Santander Group City (2 production kitchens, 13 restaurants, 6 cafeterias and 3 special service centres) offer a balanced, healthy and sustainable diet in the 5,000 meals served daily. 

Scoring system

Not all of the evaluation criteria have the same weight. Some of them are mandatory and, therefore, compliance is an indispensable requirement for obtaining certification. As more criteria are met, the sustainability level of the restaurant improves and, therefore, so does the level of certification. A score of at least 1,800 points in the assessed criteria is needed to obtain level-3 certification. Santander Group City obtained 1,940 points. 

The certification implementation process took place over three months of collaborative work involving employees from both Banco Santander and Sodexo Iberia.

Commitments to improvement

The Ecocook certification also guarantees the commitments to improvement of both Sodexo and the bank. The two companies have defined a road map with specific improvement objectives to further reduce environmental and social impacts. The 2022 targets include: 

  • Sodexo cardboard plan: implementation of a plan to reduce cardboard consumption and waste generated at Santander Group City: use of sugar bowls instead of single-dose sachets; use of recycled paper for any printed announcements in the dining rooms and replacement of single-use cups and plates by washable, reusable items, in the cafeterias and takeaway points as well.
  • Sodexo non-toxic and chemical-free products: Sodexo Iberia undertakes to use organic cleaning products as well as 100% organic, fair-trade cotton fabrics.
  • Impact reduction measures through investments in high-technology and performance material such as the installation of renewable energy induction hobs; flow-reducing taps; dish and glass washers with heat recovery systems; partial air recycling and the high energy efficiency requirement for new equipment purchased. 
  • Sodexo Iberia will set up an information platform stating the source of each ingredient used in its dishes, with the aim of ensuring maximum transparency.

Ecocook’s mission is to reduce the environmental impact of catering, one of the sectors with most impact on the environment and people’s health. This certification programme requires certain criteria to be met in various areas. It is therefore the only certificate in the catering sector that recognises sustainable restaurant practices at all levels.