A new advisory council aims to help members of the National Restaurant Association better understand sustainability and become more resource efficient.

The Washington D.C.-based association unveiled its Conserve Sustainability Advisory Council in mid-September, saying the foodservice and allied industry professionals chosen to serve on it are “some of the most influential sustainability leaders in the foodservice industry today,” according to a news release.

“With sustainability becoming more integral to business operations, it is important that restaurateurs know how best to deploy cost-effective and environmentally efficient practices that will pay dividends to their operations and the communities they serve,” association executive vice president for policy and government affairs Scott DeFife said in the release.

Co-leaders of the council are John Mulcahy, vice president of sustainability and compliance for Georgia-Pacific, and Jim Hanna, director of environmental affairs for Starbucks Coffee Co.

“The NRA is leading on sustainability issues for our industry and trying to help restaurateurs operate smarter and more efficiently. With the advisory council’s input and real-world advice, practicing sustainability will be easier to implement, result in long-term cost savings and benefit the environment,” Hanna said in the release.

The association plans to incorporate the advisory council’s advice on best practices into its Conserve Sustainability Education Program, which already has 200 members. The program includes a checklist with five categories to help foodservice operators asses their operations. The program has already identified 90 best practices and offers 64 educational videos demonstrating many of those practices, DeFife said in the release.

The advisory council members and the companies they work for:

  • Linda Dunn, vice president of supply chain and sustainability for at HMSHost;
  • Jeffrey Foote, director of customer sustainability/global customer development at theCoca-Cola Co.;
  • Joseph Franz, principal, strategic channel partnership development at Constellation Energy;
  • Christian Hardigree, director, professor of the Institute for Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality, Kennesaw State University;
  • Caitlin Leibert, sustainability coordinator for Chipotle Mexican Grill;
  • Paula Owens, purchasing and sustainability manager for Ted’s Montana Grill;
  • Kristen Rainey, director of sustainability at Sodexo Inc.;
  • Dave Scholten, commercial segment manager at Gordon Food Service;
  • Andrew Shakman, founder and chief executive officer of LeanPath Inc.;
  • Ruth Watts, product marketing manager at BASF;
  • Wanda Williams, director of alliances and industry relations at Waste Management; and
  • Richard Young, senior engineer/director of education for the Food Service Technology Center.