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  • Case study

Thinking Green with the Minoprio Foundation

Quality of Life Observer

- Education

- Oct 29 2016

Healthy nutrition, the sustainable use of resources and improving people’s Quality of Life are three core beliefs for Sodexo. They are also shared by the Minoprio Foundation, a thriving educational and research center in Italy for horticulture, gardening and conservation. Based in an 18th century mansion, the Foundation has selected Sodexo Italy’s Think Green offer for providing healthy, sustainable food services.

With more than 1,000 students, ranging from 14-year-olds to working people, the Minoprio Foundation is fully committed to teaching people about the green environment – and embracing the green agenda. Given our Group’s own commitment to sustainability, it’s perhaps not surprising that Sodexo Italy has been a long-term partner at the 64-hectare estate, which is located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Lake Como. The Foundation has three main parts: an educational center in the main building, comprising classrooms, laboratories, catering and sports facilities; an agricultural center including greenhouses, tunnels, tree nurseries, vegetable gardens and a 10-hectare orchard; and historic parkland. With more than 50 teachers, the Foundation offers a wide range of qualifications from school certificates to Masters degrees, along with specialized training programs for companies, the unemployed or people with disabilities.

Our students, especially the youngest ones, may suffer being distant from their family. So we try to make them feeling at home, offering a comfortable and healthy environment. In my opinion, this is what Quality of Life means.
Anna Zottola – Head of Educational Center and Campus, Minoprio Foundation

Seasonal, sustainable meals

Fully aligned with the Foundation’s focus and values, Sodexo Italy delivers a similarly wide range of services in support, with the latest development being a self-service restaurant based on its Think Green offer. From menu design and food preparation to meal service and awareness-raising, the Think Green program delivers a message about healthy living and protecting the environment in many different ways. Tasty recipes with seasonal, organic produce – grown on the estate wherever possible – provide nutritious, balanced meals that also reduce food waste. Menus are designed with lower temperatures and healthier cooking techniques, while timed lighting in the kitchen and restaurant reduce energy consumption. This focus on sustainability has also seen paper cups replaced by glasses, plastic bottles by a water fountain, the scrapping of place mats altogether and the use of napkins made of paper from sustainable forests. Waste is recycled and eco-label products are used for cleaning.

Food for thought

And the initiative doesn’t stop there. To deliver on the ‘Think’ part of its name, posters on the walls encourage diners to considers ways of reducing their carbon footprint and energy consumption. Other events include re-use contests, where teams of students challenge each other to create new objects from items they find in the restaurant – as a way of imaginatively recycling packaging, boxes, cans etc. The restaurant also stimulates interest by staging activities to mark events such as Earth Day, Earth Hour (with dinner by candle light) and Sodexo’s own WasteLESS Week, the five-day sustainability initiative carried out at customer sites every October. Sodexo’s H&S teams have also contributed by developing educational programs based on healthy nutrition and there are menus are reviewed on a regular basis by a student working group and Sodexo teams. Taken together, the Think Green efforts have reduced the Foundation’s running costs, enhanced the learning environment and wellbeing of its students, and given everyone food for thought.

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