White Castle, which operates two wholesale bakeries in Ohio and Indiana that produce its signature slider buns, calls its sustainability program “Naturally Focused.” The overarching initiative explores sustainability and how it fits into the business philosophy of the family-owned company.

“We feel it’s about taking the long view,” noted Jamie Richardson, vice-president for White Castle, in the December issue of Baking & Snack. “We feel we can make better decisions by not looking at what this means for the next four weeks but what it means in 4 years or 10 years.”

The chain received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for operating systems as well as interior and exterior design elements in its new home office, which opened in 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. The building features environmentally friendly carpets, paint and ceiling tiles. Additionally, low-energy lighting uses 52.1% less electricity while natural gas usage is 98.7% less than the old offices. Overall, he said, the building uses 19% less energy than a building of comparable size.

“Our new office has very flexible floor plans,” Mr. Richardson said. “Everything is movable and can be taken off the walls.”

And the larger, open design provided unexpected benefits since the pandemic struck by allowing for physical distancing for people while they’re working in the office.

“We didn’t have global pandemic on our list of design features to include, but it’s worked just fine,” Mr. Richardson said.