We have eight regional sales reps covering the U.S., plus one rep dedicated to the office channel and another dedicated to emerging chains. These company ambassadors all manage large, multi-state regions requiring them to travel extensively all year long. That’s why company travel is the biggest contributor to our operational carbon footprint.

Challenges and Opportunities

When it comes to the environmental impacts of our sales process, the bulk of our impact is in travel. At the same time, it is through our sales efforts that we drive operator conversion to more sustainable foodservice packaging, connect to customer sustainability initiatives, and make a bigger impact. This is a balance of which we are mindful when thinking about how to reduce this part of our footprint.

In 2014, we are asking our sales reps to attend at least one meeting virtually to which they would otherwise fly. Conference calls, GoToMeeting Meeting, Skype, and video conferencing are all ways to connect with stakeholders while having a relatively minimal carbon impact. We recognize the importance of face-to-face interaction, but there is likely opportunity to utilize technology in certain circumstances. Until we make a concerted effort to explore this, we won’t know how much potential we have for reducing air travel. After consciously trying to fly less, we will analyze what kind of long-term commitments we can make in our sales operation.

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Air Travel

Air travel is a huge part of our carbon footprint, But relationships and face-to-face meetings are important for our business.

In 2014, each sales department staff will participate in at least one meeting virtually, to which they would otherwise fly. The sales department will then assess any lasting commitments to reduced flying.