By Chris Finley, CSR and Internal Brand Experience
On the very first Earth Day in 1970, 20 million people gathered in the streets of America to protest for the implementation of environmental regulations. That historical event helped lead to the passing of the Clean Air Act. This was a huge win for the environment but, 46 years later the Earth isn’t saved quite yet, so our work continues!
This year’s Earth Day took place on Friday, April 22nd. We planned a week’s worth of activities leading up to it, including the return of the Annual Park Cleanup and the Dark Hour at the home office. It culminated with the release of the 2015 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report that details all of the great efforts that Pizza Hut team members have put in across the brand, to leave this Earth a little better than how we found it. We looked at the whole picture this year with a primary message that was not only about “doing good” or “being green,” but also about economics, brand reputation, risk management, innovation and ultimately, creating new value and opportunities.
For the first event, we donated food to Moss Elementary students and community volunteers in Mesquite, TX as they participated in the Mesquite cleanup, which was one of four 2016 national launches for the Keep America Beautiful organization. In keeping with the beautifying theme, the Pizza Hut Green Team also led a cleanup effort in the City of Plano with thirty volunteers. These members of the Life Unboxed Volunteers, our corporate volunteerism program, helped collect over 15 bags of trash and recycling, part of a much larger effort across the nation.
With education and awareness being a strong pillar of the Green Team’s mission, we also kicked off Earth Week with a sustainability lunch and learn where we discussed Harvest food donation, food quality, restaurant development, and ways to positively affect our home office through operations and vendor selection. Team Members enjoyed green smoothies, coffee discounts for those that brought a reusable cup, recycling education, and a Go Dark Hour during lunch on Earth Day. The Green Team also partnered with four local vendors from the Frisco Farmers Market to sell local produce and goods.
Continuing in our effort to educate, a small group of volunteers went to Mi Escuelita, a local Dallas preschool that focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) integration. Volunteers taught the children about plants and the lifecycle of tomatoes, provided drought tolerant plants, fed the children lunch (Pizza Hut pizza, of course), read to students, planted tomatoes, and helped make maracas out of plastic bottles. We hope that this kind of education and influence at an early age will lead to a lifelong habit of being aware of their environment and how they can assist in protecting the Earth.
Earth Day TX, an event put on in celebration of environmental awareness, rounded out the week. I attended the dinner at Hall of State, a beautiful building at Fair Park. Trammel S. Crow, founder of Earth Day TX, introduced a keynote speaker, who spoke about how businesses and politicians can come together to help solve climate change.
All said, we’re doing a lot at our headquarters and in the local community, but we always want to do more. Thankfully, we have the full support of not only Pizza Hut but of our parent company Yum! who recently published the full Corporate Social Responsibility report that details what each brand is doing to give something back. See below for a few of Pizza Hut’s highlights.
- Has donated 94 million pounds of food since 1992
- Won multiple environmental awards including the 2015 China Environmental Prize
- U.S. stores have removed 1.5 million pounds of salt from core ingredients since 2015
- Offers balanced food options such as the ability to “Skinny It Up” making a pizza slice 300 calories or less, and also offers Gluten-Free Pizza options at select locations.
Check out the Pizza Hut specific section of the CSR report launch at http://www.yumcsr.com/brands-overview/ph-page.asp