Corporate Environmental Sustainability & Responsibility

We believe our business operations and the natural world are closely linked, and we are working to make the world a better place by reducing our impact on the environment.


We continually strive to be good stewards of the environment by working closely with our vendors to purchase products and services with a view toward energy efficiency and reduce our environmental impact. Below are just a few of the many measures we are taking to become a leader of sustainable practices in our industry. A more in-depth progress report can be found here.


Energy Management

We strive to become best-in-class in the way we purchase and use energy in our restaurants. Wendy’s always considers energy efficiency in the selection of all equipment, goods and services. Energy conservation makes good business sense, and it is a reflection of the responsibility we feel to be a good neighbor and steward of the environment.


These are just a few of the ways we’ve made progress on this initiative:

  • Use of LED lights for new and remodeled restaurants
  • Conversion of more than 500 restaurants to exterior LED parking lot lighting
  • Conversion of more than 325 restaurants to more efficient walk-in cooler and freezer motors
  • Use of high efficiency HVAC systems in new restaurant construction
  • Use of energy-efficient ENERGY STAR® certified kitchen equipment when applicable 


Better Buildings® Challenge 

In January 2016, we announced our participation with the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge.  Among the first restaurants to join the Challenge, we committed to reduce energy consumption in our U.S. company-owned restaurants by 20 percent per transaction by 2025.


Being a 95 percent franchised organization, our franchisees play a big role in our business. With that in mind, Wendy’s became the first restaurant company to encourage franchisees around the country to join the DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge. 18 franchisees in the United States representing more than 1,200 Wendy's restaurants have joined the challenge. Including company-owned restaurants, there are 1,500 total restaurants participating in the Better Buildings Challenge.


Click here to view our profile on the Better Buildings Challenge Partners Page.


We’re pleased to report 2017 energy savings numbers for The Wendy’s Company:

  • As a whole, Wendy’s company-owned restaurants and the Dublin Restaurant Support Center reported a 12 percent reduction in energy per transaction. We are on our way to hit our 20 percent goal before 2025.
    • More than 120 company restaurants are reporting more than a 10 percent reduction in energy use. Furthermore, 70 – more than 20 percent of our company-owned restaurants — exceeded the overall 20 percent reduction goal in 2017. That’s eight years ahead of schedule.
  • The Dublin Restaurant Support Center — Wendy’s headquarters — has reduced energy usage by 28 percent, thereby lowering greenhouse gas emissions by more than 27 percent against the 2013 baseline year.
  • Wendy’s continued to spend less in energy in 2017 at our company restaurants compared to 2012. This was a result of strategic changes including remodels, upgrades — like installing new HVAC systems, more efficient walk-in cooler motors and LED lights — and operational focus on energy conservation.


The Wendy's Energy Challenge

We were so encouraged by our participation in the Better Buildings Challenge that we developed our own program to include our franchisees outside the U.S. We modeled our initiative on the DOE’s program and called it the Wendy's Energy Challenge. We are excited to report that we now have 19 franchisees participating in the Wendy’s Energy Challenge representing a total footprint of 4.7 million square feet.


The top franchise performers in the Wendy’s Energy Challenge for 2017 are the Carlisle Corporation, Delight Restaurant Group, Wendco Group, Wend-Rockies Inc and Wendium of Florida. The 500+ franchise restaurants reporting energy data in 2016 have saved enough energy to power 540 U.S. homes for an entire year!


U.S. Green Building Council - LEED® Certification  

As a long-time member, Wendy’s® supports the commitment the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has made to develop a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.


Wendy’s is a strong advocate of energy conservation and sustainability. Beginning this journey more than six years ago, the restaurant company built two LEED® certified restaurants, one in Bridgeton, Mo., and the other in Atlanta, Ga., to gain critical learnings and explore the possibility of incorporating energy conservation efforts in new and existing restaurants.  A new restaurant in Chicago is registered as a LEED restaurant and is presently going through the certification process. 


Further, the Thomas Building and Conference Center, constructed in 2012 and located on the campus of the Wendy’s Restaurant Support Center in Dublin, Ohio, was awarded the LEED Silver certification in spring 2013 for designing and constructing a building to sustainable standards including energy efficient lighting and HVAC.  At more than 75,000 square feet in size, the building houses a 6,500 square foot conference space, offices and a state-of-the-art fitness center. 


In its home state of Ohio, Wendy’s took a leadership role when it implemented energy upgrades at nearly 30 Columbus-area restaurants and its Restaurant Support Center. Wendy’s was recognized by AEP Ohio for its commitment to energy efficiency in 2014 which saved more than 1.2 million kWh, or more than 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide, annually which is equivalent to taking nearly 200 cars off the road per year.


Used Cooking Oil Recycling  

Wendy's understands the positive and sustained impact the recycling of cooking oil can have on the environment. For many years, Wendy’s has partnered with various oil recycling companies to collect used cooking oil so it can be refined for use as an ingredient in truly renewable second-use biofuels, animal feed and many consumer products like cosmetics, tires and leather shoes.


According to industry sources, oil recycling helps to reduce the foodservice industry’s carbon footprint. We understand, for every metric ton of carbon dioxide produced in the operation of recycling plants, more than seven metric tons of carbon dioxide are removed from the environment. And by responsible recycling, foodservice operators are reducing the amount of organic waste materials going into landfills and the amount of organic waste discharged into water treatment facilities, easing the burden on overtaxed landfills and water treatment plants.


Wendy's restaurants recycle between 545 lbs. – 750 lbs. of used cooking oil every month.


Packaging & Recycling

While we continue to explore innovative opportunities to expand recycling efforts, one of the biggest challenges to recycling is that food packaging is not widely accepted by recyclers. Packaging that's stained with food residue is typically rejected due to contamination risk during the recycling process. In addition, a large part of our sales are through the pick-up window, so we're reliant on curbside recycling programs offered by many of the communities in which we operate.


It's a different story behind the counter. Many of our restaurants recycle corrugated cardboard boxes and used cooking oil, two items that can add up to a significant amount of waste for any restaurant.