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Business & Society Belgium (Sodexo) - Used Cooking Oil (UCO)

Added on 22-03-2013





Business challenge

The food chain is a large producer of organic waste that all too often ends up in landfills or incinerators. Every part of the food chain, across the world, from the farm to the consumer has a role to play in reducing food waste. 

Sodexo’s environmental impact at its sites consists of waste, consumption of fuel, energy and water. Sodexo is always looking for new ways to reduce its environmental footprint. As a major user of cooking oil, Sodexo aims to convert UCO (used cooking oil) into biodiesel for use in vehicles thus reducing organic waste and displacing CO2 emissions.


Sodexo operates in 80 countries worldwide and employs some 380,000 employees on tens of thousands of sites. While Sodexo’s environmental impact is modest compared to other large organisations in other industries, the company is very conscious of its impact, responsibility, and the opportunities for responsible environmental management.

As part of The Better Tomorrow Plan - Sodexo’s new strategic roadmap for Corporate Citizenship - the company has defined its commitment to reduce organic waste in all the countries where it operates and at clients' sites by 2015. The company also intends to support initiatives that recover organic waste.

In a number of countries where Sodexo operates, (including Chile, Netherlands, Australia or France) the company is implementing programs to optimise the collection and recovery of UCO at its foodservice sites. Sodexo selects specialised companies that can convert the UCO into biodiesel. This not only results in less material going to landfill, but also in the generation of an alternative fuel for vehicles: Biodiesel from UCO emits 78% less CO2 than petroleum diesel.


Sodexo’s 2010 global environmental audits at the company’s sites included a question on the recovery of UCO. The results will allow the company to identify areas of best practice and where it needs to focus its efforts.  Sodexo’s challenge is to make sure that UCO is recovered by authorised suppliers from all relevant sites and put to re-use /convert in a way that is consistent with its commitments to responsible environmental management.

Challenges/Lessons learned:

  • In 2008 - 2009 nearly 11,000 sites reported recovery of UCO amounting to over 1,100 tonnes.
  • In Belgium, since 2009, 200 tonnes of waste oil has been collected from Sodexo restaurants and converted into biodiesel that meets all European standards.
  • In France, more than 100 tones of UCO are collected every year at all sites and treated by two contractors. In 2009, 859 client sites were involved in this initiative.
  • In the UK, Sodexo invested in equipment to chemically process UCO into biodiesel for use in site vehicles, eliminating the need for an equivalent amount of diesel and thereby reducing CO2 emissions and costs. In 2008-2009, over 350,000 litres of biodiesel were produced, resulting in the displacement of over 760 tonnes CO2.
  • In Turkey, 11.5 tones of used cooking oils were recycled between September 2009 and May 2010.

More information

Our program for the recovery of UCO is described in our 2009 Corporate Citizenship Progress Review:
and in our 2009 Corporate Citizenship report

More information on the Better Tomorrow Plan

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