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Sodexo: No. 1 in the DiversityInc Top 50

Sodexo, DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity logo
Company Information

U.S. Headquarters: Gaithersburg, Md.
U.S. Employees: 118,300
Last Year’s DiversityInc Top 50 Ranking: No. 2

Why It’s on the List

When it comes to diversity management, Sodexo is in a class by itself. Now in the 11th year of its D&I effort, Sodexo is the leader in using diversity metrics to quantify and impact its business goals.

These efforts are led by Senior Vice President and Global Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Rohini Anand, a legend in D&I circles for her ability to connect with senior leadership and influence business decisions, and to implement cutting-edge D&I programs.

The commitment and accountability start at the top, with President and CEO George Chavel. All Executive Committee members are mentors and all senior leaders sponsor resource groups. Twenty-five percent of executive-level bonuses and 10–15 percent of senior-management bonuses are linked to diversity objectives, and scorecard bonuses are paid out regardless of financial performance—Sodexo is the only company we’ve seen that does this.

More than 55,000 management and frontline employees have received training in D&I competency, a 50 percent increase in the last year. The highly regarded IMPACT mentoring program had 135 partnerships this year, with 68 percent in cross-cultural relationships.

This year, the Employee Network Groups formally became Employee Business Resource Groups, reflecting their contributions to the business. The PRIDE resource group and the Global LGBT Task Force developed an LGBT Conversation Guide on challenges, culture cues, policies and benefits.

Sodexo’s focus as a diversity leader is external as well as internal. The company has been involved in more than 130 diversity events, including DiversityInc’s. Sodexo’s leaders hold 20 board positions with multicultural organizations, and more than 100 of the company’s clients attended its annual Diversity Business and Leadership Summit.


2012 Award Winner!


Another way students invest in sustainability

Professor Ryan Perroy explains vermicomposting system to a group of faculty, staff and students from UW System schools.Nine tons of waste transformed into a resource with help from UW-L Green Fund

A student sustainability initiative that started in 2011 has turned tons of UW-La Crosse food waste into high-value soil.

Students allocated $17,000 in segregated fees to purchase a vermicomposting system in spring 2011. Through the power of worms, it turns food waste into high-value soil.

Since the system started, nine tons of food waste from UW-L Dining Services has been turned into vermicompost, according to UW-L Geography and Earth Science Assistant Professor Ryan Perroy. The magic ingredient in the mix is about 400 pounds of Red Wiggler Worms.

Zack Gaugush, vermicompost manager for Hillview Urban Agriculture Center.

Zack Gaugush, vermicompost manager for Hillview Urban Agriculture Center, explains how the system works. HUAC, a local non-profit organization focused on sustainability, maintains the vermicomposting system and provides logistical support.

Zack Gaugush, vermicompost manager for Hillview Urban Agriculture Center (HUAC), one of the partners on the program, calls using the system a “no brainer.”

“If you’ve invested and are already paying a set amount for food to be transported and processed into a meal, instead of paying someone to haul it away and put it in a landfill, you can recapture all the nutrients and turn that into a resource,” he explains.

The unit holds about 400 pounds of living worms. Under ideal conditions, the worms can eat their weight in a day — meaning a max of 400 pounds of food waste can be dumped each day. However, Gaugush says they’ve never hit that mark. He collects food waste from the Whitney Center and dumps an average about 500 pounds of it into the system each week — or about 83, five-gallon buckets full. UW-L plans to work to increase the amount to include food scraps from Cartwright Center and possibly residence halls.

The system takes pre and post consumer

Professor Ryan Perroy

UW-L Geography and Earth Science Assistant Professor Ryan Perroy is a major contributor to the project. Earlier this fall he explained how the vermicomposting system works to about 70 people from schools throughout the UW System. The faculty, staff and students were on campus for their annual sustainability meeting.

vegetables, fruits, coffee grounds, tea and egg shells — no meat, dairy or grain. The Red Wiggler Worms — living near the surface of the soil — make their way up to eat the compost.

“They rise to the occasion — so to speak,” says Gaugush.

Worms digest the food and excrete castings, or, as Perroy likes to call them, “high-value, agricultural amendments.” Over time the castings fall to the bottom of the container and are collected. This finished material is a nutrient-rich natural fertilizer and soil conditioner, which HUAC, a local non-profit organization focused on sustainability, sells or uses at its green house.

“Vermicomposting is ancient. If you have a compost pile outside, you’ll find worms in it. Yet this sort of system used on an institutional scale is relatively new,” says Gaugush. “That’s born out of people’s interest in turning waste into a resource.”

It is also a good learning tool, says Perroy. UW-L students have participated in managing the system and some have conducted research in relation to the project. Perroy hopes the system eventually comes full circle, using the vermicompost on UW-L greens.

The system is currently located in a warehouse off Hwy. 16 near the Viterbo University baseball fields, however, it will eventually be moved to the Western Technical College campus. Recently, Gaugush started collecting food waste

bags and tubs of soil

Hillview Urban Agriculture Center sells the finished soil product.

from Western as well. The system is a partnership between UW-L, Western and HUAC.

At UW-L, vermicomposting is one of many ways the campus is working to be more sustainable. Other campus sustainability initiatives include installing low-flow shower heads in the majority of residence halls, earning Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification on newly constructed buildings, reducing electrical consumption with energy efficient lighting and more.

Did you know?

You need the right kind of worm! The Red Wiggler Worms used in the vermicomposting system do not burrow deep down into the earth. Instead, they live in a layer near the top of the soil and make their way up to the surface to eat. This allows the layers of finished castings at the bottom of the system to easily be removed without losing any worms.

UW-L students make this project possible. Initial program costs, including purchase of the 8’ x 32’ industrial-scale continuous flow reactor vermicomposting unit and an initial 100 pounds of red wiggler worms, were funded through the UW-L Green Fund, which is supported by students through segregated fees paid each semester.

View more photos from the Vermicomposting site.


Sodexo Announces Shift to Eggs from Cage-free Hens

SOURCE Sodexo, Inc.

Move to source all shelled eggs exclusively from cage-free hens by July 2014 supports Sodexo's position on animal welfare

GAITHERSBURG, Md., Aug. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Sodexo Inc., the leading provider of Quality of Life Services in North America, today announced that by July 2014, all of the 39 million shelled eggs it purchases each year will be sourced from cage-free hens. It is a decision applauded by The Humane Society of the United States, which says the shift will improve the welfare of nearly 150,000 hens annually. Today's announcement comes just weeks after Sodexo committed to the removal of gestation stalls from its pork supply chain.

"Shifting to cage-free eggs is just one more way Sodexo is proactively implementing commitments under The Better Tomorrow Plan, our roadmap for sustainability," said Deborah Hecker, vice president, sustainability and CSR, Sodexo. "Our decision to source shelled eggs exclusively from hens in a cage-free environment specifically addresses our commitments to buy local, seasonal or sustainably grown or raised products."

With more than 6,000 clients in settings that include education, health care, government and corporate dining operations, Sodexo in North America serves 10 million customers daily. By committing to source cage-free shelled eggs for this vast customer base, Sodexo stands to make a significant contribution to improving the welfare of laying hens.

"Sodexo's move on procurement of shell eggs from more humane sources reflects a strong commitment to hen welfare," said Josh Balk, director of corporate policy for the Humane Society of the United States. "We are grateful that the company has exhibited such leadership in improving the treatment of farm animals within its supply chain."

Sodexo views its commitment to the humane treatment of animals as highly important, just as it is for the people and the communities that it serves. This step is an important part of the progress the company is making toward sustainability in a range of areas, from the food it sources to the energy and facilities management services it provides.

Among some of the recognized achievements in sustainability for Sodexo are: the Dow Jones 2011-2012 Global Sustainability Leader; Sustainability Yearbook; 2012 SAM Sector Leader and 2012 Fortune's Most Admired Companies. Guided by the Better Tomorrow Plan, Sodexo's global roadmap to sustainability, the company works to actively promote nutrition, health and wellness, commit to local communities and protect the environment.

For more information about Sodexo's Better Tomorrow Plan please visit

About Sodexo in North America
Sodexo, Inc. (, leading Quality of Daily Life Solutions company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On-site Service Solutions in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Motivation Solutions such as Esteem Pass. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $17 million in grants to end childhood hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at

Sodexo, world leader in Quality of Daily Life Solutions
Quality of Life plays an important role in the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. Based on this conviction, Sodexo acts as a partner for companies and institutions that place a premium on performance and employee well-being, as it has since Pierre Bellon founded the company in 1966. Sharing the same passion for service, Sodexo's 413,000 employees in 80 countries design, manage and deliver an unrivaled array of Quality of Life Services. Sodexo has created a new form of service business that contributes to the fulfillment of its employees and the economic, social and environmental development of the communities, regions and countries in which it operates.

©2012 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved.



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Whitney Center

Cartwright Center

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University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Sodexo Dining Services
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La Crosse, WI 54601
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