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SaladStop!: Accomplishing its net zero carbon goal

Tapping on Enterprise Sustainability Programme (ESP) to deliver on their commitment to sustainable operations and hiring.

A pioneer in sustainable consumption

Founded in 2009 by the father-son duo, SaladStop! was birthed from the Desbaillets family’s dream of delivering a healthy and sustainable way of life through conscious consumption.

"SaladStop! was built and aligned very much to the values we hold as a family. I guess you can say sustainability was an integral part of our upbringing. It’s almost a part of our DNA,” Adrien Desbaillets, CEO of SaladStop!, shared.

SaladStop!’s vision and philosophy resonated greatly with consumers, and the chain expanded rapidly. Today, Saladstop! has over 70 outlets in seven countries. Their investment in sustainability looks to be paying off as the company is experiencing healthy returns in both its environmental impact and its bottom line. The fast-growing salad chain championed sustainability long before it became a buzzword, and has spent much time and effort to enlighten customers on what it means to consume consciously.

The first net zero F&B outlet in Singapore

The first net zero F&B outlet in Singapore

Educating, engaging and empowering consumers

The company believes in empowering consumers in their consumption choices. In 2020, SaladStop! developed and launched the SaladStop! mobile application, which gives customers the option to offset the greenhouse gas emissions from their meals by adding a small token of $0.20 to their total bill. This contribution directly supports SaladStop!’s commitment towards funding the restoration of the Yagasu mangrove in Indonesia.

To help educate and encourage consumers to join in their efforts, LED screens were installed across all outlets to convey bite-sized messages of sustainability. Likewise, the chain updated its website with key information on its ongoing net zero carbon action plan.

Taking small, sustainable steps

SaladStop! took baby steps and proceeded carefully, focusing on small improvements first. “We started with small steps such as sourcing locally to reduce our carbon footprint, serving only ingredients that are hormone-free with minimal antibiotics, and implementing bring-your-own-bowls (BYOB) initiatives,” recounted Adrien.

The decision to reinvest its profits into more sustainable business practices was a no-brainer.

In our early days, we had to serve our salads in plastic bowls as cost was an issue. As the business grew, we were able to refine our packaging and have since shifted to using bagasse (dried fibrous materials from sugarcane pulp) bowls,” shared Adrien.

Though these initial initiatives saw good consumer response, the passion-driven founders craved an even bigger impact. In 2020, SaladStop! embarked on a full carbon assessment exercise to trace the carbon footprint of its entire value chain for their new CapitaSpring outlet. This intensive process proved to be a turning point in their journey towards a fully sustainable business.

Opening of the first net zero F&B outlet in Singapore

Most recently, the chain pledged its commitment to transform itself into a net zero (carbon) business with the opening of their first net zero store in CapitaSpring in June 2022. This was supported by EnterpriseSG’s Enterprise Sustainability Programme (ESP), which aims to help companies build capabilities and capture new opportunities in sustainability.

SaladStop! engaged consultants to develop their net zero emission plan. As part of the recommendations, a customised net zero guideline was also developed for SaladStop! to guide in the revamp of their existing outlets and construction of new outlets. EnterpriseSG also connected SaladStop! to partners such as the Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC) for sustainable furniture, and recycled plastic for their wall tiles.

Moving forward, SaladStop!’s goal is to transform all new and existing outlets under their direct management and operational control to achieve net zero by 2030.

Sustainable investment includes hiring

Beyond making an environmental impact, SaladStop! aims to set an example as a socially sustainable business. “Our next area of focus is to refine our company’s hiring practices and continue promoting our inclusive workplace culture,” shared Adrien.

Sustainability Manager Goh Hwee Leng, a 58-year-old mid-career new hire who switched from a journalism background to join SaladStop! under the Workforce Singapore Career Conversion Programme, attests to the company’s commitment.

“SaladStop! provides a dynamic and exciting environment to learn and grow. I joined the company with no prior experience in the industry and was surprised at how quickly my bosses entrusted me with projects. It also helps that they are not judgemental when I make mistakes and are very patient with my endless questions,” she shared.

As a business leader, Adrien strongly encourages his peers to invest in sustainability. “Sustainability is a journey. All we need is to take small steps to start somewhere, and a commitment to learn and refine as we go along.”

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