Five years ago, when Zoomba Group took on the mantle of publishing FE&S, we added a regular feature written by contributing editor Amelia Levin called Green Tip. At the time, believe it or not, it felt like an edgy choice. Will readers really want to hear about the latest developments in water and energy conservation and related topics every month? A few short years later the answer is obvious: of course they do.

This month Amelia takes a look at Stanford University’s Sustainability Plan (page 84). There is a lot of great information here, but I will whet your appetite with one tidbit. By looking beyond local sourcing for their beef and focusing instead on sustainability, the Stanford group decided that beef raised in Australia represented a better overall sourcing option. The decision is somewhat counterintuitive. After all, it means that they will be shipping perishable food halfway around the world but, by doing so, they will save an estimated 50 million gallons of fresh water annually for the drought-stricken state of California. Stanford is undoubtedly forward-thinking, but it is a wonderful illustration of how environmental concerns will inform all kinds of purchasing decisions into the future.

Along the same lines, contributing editor Toby Weber has a terrific piece (page 26) that explores varying methods of defining total cost of ownership in purchasing equipment. This practical guide gives buyers specific points to consider when calculating the true cost of owning any piece of equipment.

Lastly, be sure to take a look at our Chain Profile this month on El Pollo Loco (page 32). You would be crazy to ignore the self-described “QSR-plus” space that this chain is seeking to define. It may ruffle a few feathers.