Diplomático Rum has announced a pilot program focused on improving sustainability within the restaurant and bar industries while helping address the ongoing food insecurity issue in the United States. Dubbed “Project Leftover,” the Diplomático Rum program aims to create and connect a network of local nonprofit food rescue organizations with restaurants and bars whose food surplus would previously go unused, while helping reduce their carbon footprints and directly reduce local food insecurity. Restaurants can also realize additional savings through an enhanced tax deduction designed to incentivize businesses to donate food.
Food waste is a global problem and major contributor to climate change. Additionally, each year just in the US, 72 billion pounds of food goes to waste while 42 million people face hunger. Both food insecurity and the environmental impact of food waste can be reduced if restaurants stop wasting food.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant industry is in crisis. Food industry workers face decreased revenues, soaring unemployment, and increased food insecurity. Reducing food waste is a shared value opportunity that can positively impact the economy, help the environment and support the food insecurity crisis. In restaurants, reducing food waste can mean reduced operational costs, higher profit margins, public good-will and increased employee morale, all of which are good for business.
Project Leftover is being organized by The LBB Agency, which provides brands and the hospitality industry with a focused approach on how to implement conscious, purpose-driven and sustainable strategies into their work, a little bit at a time.
“Sustainability is at the heart of the Diplomático brand, and Project Leftover is an extension of our long-standing commitment to making a difference,” said Alex Fellows at Diplomático. “Our distillery has developed the ability to recycle 100 percent of all solid waste generated during rum production, and 100 percent of the liquid waste is reused as organic fertilizer to grow the sugar cane, which covers 120 acres of farmland and helps local families with their own crops.”
The program is expected to launch initially in South Florida with programs in Houston, New York and Los Angeles rolling out throughout 2021. Each market will enlist 25 participating restaurants and bars, who will be provided an individualized food waste reduction solution tailored to their business and paired with a local community partner organization.
Each partner organization will work with the restaurant or bar to pick up leftover food on a rolling basis and deliver it to local nonprofits feeding those experiencing food insecurity.
Community partner organizations include (Subject to change):
|– FOOD RECOVERY NETWORK||– Second Servings of Houston|
|South Florida:||New York:|
|– Feeding South Florida||– ReThink|
|– 305 FEEDS||Los Angeles:|
|– Food Cycle LA|
|– Food Finders|
“We are thankful for the opportunity to partner with Diplomático Rum and the local establishments in our area to not only promote sustainability within the restaurant industry, but to also ensure that the extra food is being used to specifically help those in need right here in our community,” said Sari Vatske, Executive Vice President at Feeding South Florida. “In South Florida, 1 in 6 people are food insecure, so every little bit of help we can provide goes a long way.”
The program is a part of the brand’s global sustainability platform, “Distilled Consciously,” which is focused on improving sustainability within the restaurant and bar industries while helping address the ongoing food insecurity issue across the globe. As part of Diplomático Rum’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plan, “Distilled Consciously” sets the challenge of aligning efforts with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This CSR plan reinforces the brand’s ongoing commitment to responsible production, good environmental practices, and social support for both workers and local communities.
In the US, Diplomático Rum’s goal for Project Leftover, running now through February 2022, is to donate a collective 35,000 pounds of food, which would have otherwise gone to landfills. This amount has a potential net benefit for 3.5 million gallons of water saved and over 29,000 meals recovered. For more information about Diplomático Rum and Project Leftover, visit rondiplomatico.com/sustainability.