Dunkin’ ramps up sustainability commitment

By Beth Newhart

- Last updated on GMT

“A critical part of our journey is taking bigger, bolder action to be more socially responsible in all the ways we operate.”
“A critical part of our journey is taking bigger, bolder action to be more socially responsible in all the ways we operate.”

Related tags Dunkin' donuts Baskin-robbins Sustainability sustainable Sustainable palm oil Coffee

Dunkin’ Brands, parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts (DD) and Baskin Robbins, released a sustainability report this week, updating its progress on old goals and outlining new ones.

The report focuses on three areas of sustainability for the company--food, restaurants and communities.

Karen Raskopf, chief communications and sustainability officer a Dunkin’ Brands, said “Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins are two brands in transformation, and over the past two years we have made tremendous strides with our efforts to drive positive, noticeable change for our customers.

“A critical part of our journey is taking bigger, bolder action to be more socially responsible in all the ways we operate.”

Setting rigorous food standards

Dunkin’ has formed new partnerships with World Coffee Research and the Sustainable Coffee Challenge for a more sustainable coffee supply chain and worked to improve menus in its nearly 21,000 restaurants worldwide.

“We successfully removed all artificial dyes from nearly all our products. And we built out our platform of better-for-you offerings, with an eye toward expanding our vegetarian and vegan options moving forward,”​ the report said.

It noted that the company is still working to identify a solution for the artificial dyes used in DD's Blue Raspberry Coolatta drink. Select supplier-branded ingredients produced by other companies also have dyes, used as toppings, ice cream inclusions and decorative elements.

Between 2012 and 2018, Dunkin’ reduced sodium by 12% across its menus by removing some items and reformulating others.

A few years ago, the company set a goal to source 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified Dark Roast Coffee by the end of 2018. It’s currently at just 30%, but has been working with the Rainforest Alliance since 2010 to support sustainable coffee and tea farms.

According to Dunkin’, the farms and forests are managed with “rigorous environmental, social, and economic criteria designed to conserve wildlife; safeguard soils and waterways; protect workers, their local communities; and increase livelihoods.”

Dunkin’ Brands also aimed to source 100% sustainably certified materials for direct palm oil purchases in the US market by Dec. 31, 2017. In the report it updated that 100% of the inputs for direct palm oil it purchased were claimed as RSPO certified (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), but only 82% were validated as certified.


Looking ahead in packaging and ingredients goals

In packaging, Dunkin’ committed to replacing all its polystyrene cups used in restaurants with a new double-walled paper cup by mid-2020. It estimates that the transition to paper cups will remove 1 billion foam cups from the waste stream annually.

New DD concept stores have been introduced through remodels since January 2018, which the company says is nearly 30% more energy-efficient than the previous model. There are more than 340 DD Green Achievement restaurants in the US, and it plans to open a total of 500 by the end of 2020.

In the Dunkin’ Brands corporate facilities, the company is on track to reduce energy use per square foot by 28% by the end of 2020 and 30% by the end of 2025. Truck fleet fuel efficiency was set to increase by 9% by 2020 and 13% by 2025m but Dunkin’ reached the 13% goal early in 2017.

For new goals, Dunkin’ wants to commit to 100% compliance for sustainable, traceable, and no deforestation impact palm oil in donut fry oil by 2025, map its global coffee supply chain by the end of 2020 and expand vegetarian and vegan offerings on both the DD and Baskin Robbins menus by next year.

It has already started on this goal, announcing last week a partnership with vegan brand Beyond Meat to offer the Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich at New York DD locations. The company said it’s made with 100% plant-based ingredients and a mix of spices crafted specifically for Dunkin’, served on an English muffin with egg and American cheese.

The report also stated that Dunkin’ Brands is in progress toward its goals of cage-free eggs by 2025, gestation crate-free pork by 2022 and the reduction of energy consumption in US locations by 20% by 2025.

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