director, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation
Since 2005, Helene York has served as the director of the Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to educate chefs and consumers about how their food choices affect the global environment and to catalyze supply chain changes. This position allows Helene to blend her passions for great food, resource conservation, and scientific integrity, deploying them on a national scale through implementation of Bon Appétit’s various sustainability initiatives. In April 2007, Helene launched the company’s Low Carbon Diet program, whose purpose is to raise awareness of the connection between the food system and climate change. The goal of the initiative is to reduce emissions associated with Bon Appétit’s food service operations by 25% over five years. In three years, the program has achieved reductions by approximately five million pounds of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions each month. The foundation’s Low Carbon Diet Calculator, at www.eatlowcarbon.org, was developed by a team of independent scientists to educate consumers about the global warming potential of their food choices. Helene was also the driving force behind building the business case for serving sustainable seafood for Compass Group NA, Bon Appétit’s parent company. As a result, in February 2006, Compass announced a major policy to shift the company's purchases away from threatened fish species and toward sustainably sourced supplies. The new policy impacts approximately one million pounds of fish purchased annually by Compass Group. Helene is a member of the Pew Charitable Trust’s Global Aquaculture Project Initiative and the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, two technical advisory boards working to develop standards to improve the way food is grown. Helene is also a regular contributor to The Atlantic Monthly’s online Food Channel and a frequent guest lecturer at universities across the country on the subject of the food system’s relationship to climate change. She has also spoken at the national conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Nobel Peace Prize Forum in the United States. A New York native who currently lives in San Francisco, Helene earned her undergraduate degree at Harvard and master’s at Yale.