Reducing water usage, energy consumption is focus of restaurant company's sustainability goals

ORLANDO, FL, April 7, 2010 -- Darden Restaurants today announced it has committed to reducing energy and water usage by 15 percent by the year 2015 in each of its 1,800 restaurants across North America...

Apr 7th, 2010

ORLANDO, FL, April 7, 2010 -- Darden Restaurants today announced it has committed to reducing energy and water usage by 15 percent by the year 2015 in each of its 1,800 restaurants across North America. The company also announced that, as part of its approach to supply chain sustainability, it has joined the Sustainability Consortium - an independent organization of diverse global participants working collaboratively to build a scientific foundation that drives innovation to improve consumer product sustainability.

"Darden is committed to sustainability," said Ian Olson, director of Sustainability for Darden. "Our business relies on a number of natural resources, and these goals are designed to help us be the best stewards of those resources that we can be.

"At the same time, our membership in the Sustainability Consortium will allow us to build on our efforts by combining our knowledge and insights with organizations in other fields, effectively multiplying our impact."

Darden is taking a resource-focused approach to its sustainability strategy to reduce risks and harness opportunities related to energy and climate change by:

-- Setting goals to reduce per-restaurant energy and water use by 15 percent by 2015 and, long term, to send zero waste to landfills.
-- Already, the company has implemented water-saving measures estimated to cut usage by 700,000 gallons per year in each of its restaurants; installed energy-efficient lighting in all kitchens; and implemented fixed "Power Up" schedules to help reduce energy consumption.
-- Collaborating with others in our value chain who are committed to finding energy-, water- and waste-reduction opportunities while maintaining an unwavering focus on food safety.

"Darden is proud to be the first restaurant company to join the Sustainability Consortium," said Bill Herzig, Senior Vice President of Purchasing and Supply Chain Innovation for Darden. "We see tremendous value in learning from other sectors such as agriculture, dairy, fisheries and packaging. This will enable us to help educate our buyers and suppliers and encourage sustainable purchasing and manufacturing practices throughout our supply chain."

The Consortium was established as a means to tackle the challenge of sustainability in the face of unprecedented growth. As consumers become more sophisticated about their purchasing decisions, and as natural resources become more limited, the Consortium is dedicated to driving innovation so that consumers are empowered to consume in a more sustainable way.

Today's news comes on the heels of Darden's recent announcement that it is incorporating Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards in its restaurant design process for all new restaurants and, where feasible, restaurant remodels.

About Darden Restaurants
Darden Restaurants Inc., the world's largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates 1,800 restaurants that generate more than $7 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, and employing approximately 180,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Our restaurant brands - Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52 - reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

About the Sustainability Consortium
The Sustainability Consortium is an independent organization of diverse global participants working collaboratively to build a scientific foundation that drives innovation to improve consumer product sustainability. It develops transparent methodologies, tools and strategies to drive a new generation of products and supply networks that address environmental, social and economic imperatives. The Sustainability Consortium advocates for a transparent process and system, not individuals or organizations. Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas jointly administer the Sustainability Consortium. Learn more at www.sustainabilityconsortium.org.

The Sustainability Consortium is a part of the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University (ASU); and the Applied Sustainability Center at the University of Arkansas.

The Global Institute of Sustainability is the hub of ASU's sustainability initiatives and home to the first of its kind School of Sustainability; it works to advance research, education, and business practices for an urbanizing world (http://sustainability.asu.edu/).

The Applied Sustainability Center at the University of Arkansas serves as a catalyst for innovation in the retail and consumer goods industries through sustainability-related research and partnerships.

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