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Making The Right Choices Today For A Sustainable Tomorrow

 

OUR COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY

We are committed to making the right choices today to ensure a sustainable tomorrow for future generations. With over 30 million servings of sushi sold annually, we understand the strength of our ability to impact the lives of our customers, partners, and the communities that we serve. All aspects of the business model are viewed within a sustainability lens to confirm that the correct decisions are being made.

From seafood to packaging we do what we can to ensure that we follow the best sustainability practices ourselves while working hand in hand with our retail partners to align with their own sustainability programs.

Dave Jones, Bento President & CEO

 

OUR ENVIRONMENT, SOCIAL, GOVERNANCE PILLARS

We have defined each pillar based on Bento’s existing operations (footprint), our impact and our value system.

PLANET

Serving better food means doing so with a lower impact on the environment. We are aiming to minimize our impact by reducing our energy use and carbon footprint across our supply chain, in our operations and in our consumer experience.

PEOPLE

Our people are at the heart of our success. We will continue to foster an entrepreneurial and inclusive culture, while supporting the communities we operate in and serve.

PRODUCTS

We know great food can be healthy, delicious, and responsibly sourced. We work closely with our suppliers and industry partners to continuously improve the traceability and transparency of our products.

 

OUR APPROACH

Continuous improvement has always been an important part of our DNA and in todays’ rapidly changing world, now more than ever before, we recognize the need to continuously assess our impacts and improve our sustainability performance wherever we can.

Working together with sustainability experts, industry partners, and suppliers, in 2021 we completed an in-depth materiality assessment to comprehensively map out our business, to better understand where our biggest impacts are and where we have the best opportunities to make a positive difference.

As part of this work, we have identified four Environmental focus areas to help prioritize our efforts and to help guide and challenge us to be the best we can be, across each of our brands:

 

 

1. GREEN HOUSE GAS AND ENERGY USE

As an international food and hospitality business, we have an obligation to do all that we can to reduce our impacts to the planet ensuring a sustainable future.

Our Energy Ambitions:

We continue to improve the quality of data across our company as we identify information gaps and implement processes to gather the required category level scope 1, 2 and 3 data.

Integrating energy use reduction options into all equipment and facility build out or refurbishment decisions.

Implement an energy use monitoring program at company owned or operated locations to identify areas of improvement and allow for a baseline development to set target reduction in the future.

Effective preventative maintenance programs in place to reduce refrigerant and gas leaks.

2. WASTE

Supporting a circular economy where everything is valued including waste allows resources to be used more efficiently and nothing is wasted. Categorizing our waste and identifying diversion from landfill opportunities is an important first step in supporting a circular economy.

In 2023, the following data illustrates our waste reduction efforts:

  •    166 tons went to landfills.
  •    100 tons were mixed recyclables.
  •    320 tons were organic materials recycled or composted.
  •    139 tons was cardboard recycling.
  •    39 tons was wood recycling.

Thanks to these efforts, we prevented 710 tons of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere.

Our Waste Ambitions

– Increase the overall diversion rate for commissaries by 10% as part of our waste reduction efforts.
– Identify opportunities to improve diversion rates by working with waste management partners.
– Employee training to promote awareness and participation in diversion programs.

3. FOOD WASTE

Growing food to feed the world’s increasing population uses vast areas of land, and abundant amounts of energy and water, which can create social and environmental impacts, pollution, and waste. To minimize food waste, we have:

  • Expanded our partnership with Too Good To Go in Canada and the United States, a food diversion App that enables consumers to buy our food at discounted rates when it is still deliciously fresh, but is soon to come to the end of its’ shelf life.
  • To date, we have rescued 11,723 meals (equivalent to around 25,000 sushi packs) and prevented 31.65 tons of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere across our restaurant and commissary channels.
  • Begun to compost prepared and production organic food waste at our commissary locations in North America; 320 tons of organic waste was diverted away from landfills in 2023.
  • Joined composting programs with our grocery retailer partners in Canada to divert processed and out of date products from landfill. From November 2023 until now, we have prevented 26,835 kilograms of organic waste from being disposed of in
  • landfill.

Our Food Waste Ambitions:

Expand the Too Good To Go partnership across all commissaries where viable, with the aim of reducing food waste from our production facilities.

Test the expansion of the Too Good To Go partnerships in kiosks where feasible, and if successful, officially launch the program in this channel.

Aim to decrease food waste from corporate stores through partnership with Food Donation Partners & Food Rescue Organizations.

We will continue to implement effective impactful solutions to reduce our current food waste utilizing aspects of the food recovery hierarchy.


3. RESPONSIBLE SOURCING

We recognize that we are only as sustainable as the suppliers from whom we buy our products. Sustainability is integrated into our buying practices, and we work closely with our suppliers and industry partners to continuously improve the traceability and transparency of our products, as well as their overall sustainability performance.

Fish & Seafood:

Responsibly sourcing high-quality seafood is extremely important to us, and we have stringent sourcing criteria to determine our purchasing decisions.

We aim to only source seafood that is either certified to a recognized sustainability standard or has a Marine Conservation Society (MCS), Good Fish Guide rating of 1 (“Best Choice”) to 3 (“OK” to source), using the below hierarchy of preference:

  1. We source seafood certified to an internationally recognized standard (usually Global Gap, ASC, BAP4* or MSC)
  2. If not certified, we source from fisheries or farms with a MCS rating of 1-3
  3. Where no MCS rating exists, we use the Monterey Bay (Seafood Watch) Fish Source rating or other sources of information to establish that the environmental and social sustainability status is in line with SSC Codes of Conduct
  4. Seafood with an MCS rating of 4 (“Requires Improvement”) can in some cases be sourced, but usually only if engaged in a recognized FIP (Fishery Improvement Project) or Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Pre-Assessment, with demonstrable progress being shown, or if there are plans in place to move to a more sustainable option once existing stock has been used.

Our Sourcing Ambitions

  • 100% of tuna, salmon, shrimp, and surimi will be certified responsibly, sustainably, and ethically sourced by end of 2024.​
  • Implementation of our Responsible Sourcing Standards Guide with 100% of Tier 1 suppliers by end of 2024.
  • 100% of other key protein ingredients (chicken and beef) responsibly sourced or certified to 3rd party verified standards by end of 2025.


4. PLASTICS, PACKAGING AND PAPER

We recognize that to continue to provide the freshest, highest quality food, we need to protect the environments in which our food and products are produced, transported, consumed, repurposed, and disposed of. We are focused on the approach of reduce, re-use and recycle (in that order wherever possible), so that waste is seen as a resource, as part of a wider circular economy.

Our focus is on minimizing our demand on our natural resources and maximizing the efficiency with which we use them. We support the Canadian and US Plastics Pact and are looking at how we can collaborate with innovative and creative suppliers and industry partners to work holistically to reduce the demand and our impact of our primary, secondary, and tertiary packaging.

In 2023, we accomplished the following milestones to reinforce our dedication to sustainable packaging:

  • 98% of Bento’s primary packaging (trays/bowls/boxes/lids/bags) was 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable.
  • 29% of Bento plastic packaging contained 30% PCR content.
  • Teaming up with How2Recycle, we integrated recyclability icons onto our Bento at Home offerings and Bento Express line, aiding consumers in understanding proper disposal methods for our packaging.
  • Additionally, we joined forces with ChopValue, an organization dedicated to repurposing chopsticks. Through this collaboration, we contribute to the recycling of chopsticks, which are then transformed into furniture and various other products.

Our Packaging Ambitions

  • All primary plastic packaging (trays/bowls/boxes/lids/bags) will be 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
  • 30% average post-consumer recycled content across all plastic packaging by 2025.
  • Eliminate all unnecessary and problematic plastic by 2025.
  • Fiber based packaging to be 100% deforestation free & FSC/PEFC certified by 2030.
  • Investigate opportunities for re-usable packaging where facilities exist in order to support the circular economy.


REPORTING & TRANSPARENCY

To learn more about our sustainability initiatives please read our Sustainability Policies:

Sustainability Policy

Sustainable Seafood Policy

For more information contact us at sustainability@bentosushi.com

We are committed to sustainability and reducing our environmental impact. We recognize that the actions we take today will have a lasting impact on the world around us, and we are dedicated to creating a more sustainable future for all.

 

We Are Turning Our Sustainability Ambitions Into Action