Sustainability. What does it mean? How does it apply to the vending industry? Why should we be interested? What's in it for us? What's the right thing to do?
These questions and more importantly, their answers can dictate the future of your business, our industry and the world around us. We feel the commitment to the future means more than just ‘getting on board’ with a perceived trend. It can also mean the support of a company’s commitment to social responsibility; the adherence to customer demand and expectations; and increased revenues or decreased costs.
NAMA has created a Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool to help our members identify where they currently stand in regards to sustainability and more importantly, where they can go. Before you start, it will be important to understand the definitions of sustainability as it pertains to the food industry.
"Sustainable Food" can be defined as the positive, neutral or negative impact food has on our environment, our communities, social concerns and our bodies. Therefore it can be said: sustainable food promotes environmental, economic, social and nutritional well- being.
These areas of sustainability can be affected by the vending industry in significant ways. We address each of these critical areas through four specific strategies. These strategies are the categories that most often affect our impact on sustainability. They are:
- Products – the food and supplies we serve
- Resources– the effect our equipment and infrastructure has on our natural resources
- Communication – the way we speak and teach
- Community – our people and those around us
The Self Assessment focuses individually on each of these categories, their sub-categories and subsequent example that can be taken to achieve a certain level of sustainability.
We invite you to review these categories and assess your current status for each action. The purpose is to identify where you are and understand what you can do to continuously improve "one step at a time". The assessment process is meant to be an ongoing process.
We wish you great success as you put this tool into action.