Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.12
Liaison Ciannat Howett
Submission Date July 25, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Emory University
OP-7: Food and Beverage Purchasing

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.93 / 6.00 Taylor Spicer
Assistant Director
Office of Sustainability Initiatives
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Percentage of dining services food and beverage expenditures on products that are third party verified under one or more recognized food and beverage sustainability standards or Local & Community-Based:

Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (expenditures on conventional animal products)? (If data is not available, respond “No”):

Percentage of total dining services food and beverage expenditures on conventional animal products (meat, poultry, fish/seafood, eggs, and dairy products that do NOT qualify in either the Third Party Verified or Local & Community-Based category):

A brief description of the sustainable food and beverage purchasing program, including how the sustainability impacts of products in specific categories are addressed (e.g. meat, poultry, fish/seafood, eggs, dairy, produce, tea/coffee):

Emory's Sustainable Food Committee guides the institution's transition to more local and sustainable purchases. In 2007 this committee developed a set of guidelines to help meet Emory's institutional goal of ensuring 75% of all food served will be locally or sustainably grown by 2015. Emory’s Sustainability Vision and Strategic Plan for 2015-2025 revises this goal as follows: 50% by 2016, 60% by 2019, and 75% by 2025.

Emory defines "local" food as from Georgia and the surrounding seven southern states (AL, KY, FL, MS, NC, SC, TN).

Sustainably grown food adheres to one or more of the following criteria:
• Certified USDA Organic
• Sourced from Certified Grass-Fed Animals (American Grass-Fed Association)
• Certified Humanely Raised (Certified Humane by Humane Animal Farm Care, Animal Welfare Approved)
• Certified Sustainable (Food Alliance Certified or LEO-4000 American National Sustainable Agriculture Standard)
• Seafood Watch Southeast “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” Approved List
• Marine Stewardship Council
• Fair Trade USA, Fair Trade International, Fair Trade Federation

Minimum standards include:
CHICKEN - Springer Mountain Farms or university-approved equivalent*
PORK - raised without gestation crates
GROUND BEEF - 100% Grass-Fed as certified by American Grassfed Association or Animal Welfare Approved
HOT DOGS - all beef, nitrite/nitrate free
FLUID DAIRY & YOGURT - artificial growth hormones rBST/rBGH prohibited, and routine administration of antibiotic in feed, water, or otherwise is prohibited
EGGS - Shell and liquid eggs are cage-free and Certified Humane® by Humane Farm Animal Care
SEAFOOD - Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program Best Choice (Green) or Good Alternative (Yellow) rated species, or Marine Stewardship Council
PRODUCE - As much local produce as possible (8 state Southeast region), Coalition of Immokalee Workers tomatoes, Seek Fair Food Certification items, honor Atlanta Lettuce Project commitments**
COFFEE AND TEA - Fair trade (Fair Trade USA, Fair Trade International, or Fair Trade Federation)

*local (8 state southeast region) and no antibiotics ever
**Emory University has forged a partnership with the Atlanta Lettuce Project, a community based wealth building initiative for underserved parts of the community

Bon Appétit Management Company is Emory’s contracted dining services provider as of May 2015. The contract stipulates that certain food standards are met in residential dining, catering, and retail operations operated by Bon Appétit.

For the Emory University Hospital system, sustainable food purchases are determined based on what food items met the criteria established by Emory University and the dollars spent in total on those items. Produce is usually product raised in the 8 state region because it’s preferred over third party verified product raised in California or outside the USA, for example.

Examples of purchases made by the hospital system include, but are not limited to, produce grown in the designated 8 state region with preference for produce grown in GA (purchased through the GA Common Market); chicken from Springer Mountain Farms in GA; grass-fed beef from White Oak Pastures located in southern GA; pork raised in Alabama; seafood from the Good/Best list for Monterey Bay Aquarium; Atlanta’s Fresh Yogurt; locally roasted coffee beans; and grits ground from corn raised in the Carolinas. The food items are not tracked by food category, but as total sustainable food dollars/total dollars in spend – totally excluding categories such as bottled beverages. Emory University Hospitals operate their own dining operations and catering services and do not use Bon Appetit as a contractor. The hospitals' food purchases are not included in the figures above or in the inventory. For FY 16, the hospital system, which included six hospitals in the Atlanta metro region, sourced 10.73% of local and sustainable food, according to Emory's definitions.

An inventory of the institution’s sustainable food and beverage purchases that includes for each product: the description/type; label, brand or producer; and the category in which it is being counted and/or a description of its sustainability attribute(s):
A brief description of the methodology used to conduct the inventory, including the timeframe and how representative samples accounted for seasonal variation (if applicable):

At Emory University, Bon Appétit Management Company uses an in-house purchase tracking program to track all food purchases made in residential dining, catering, and retail operations (excluding bottled beverage purchases, branded concepts, and subcontracted vendors; including the convenience store) during all weeks of operation during the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The submitted inventory is a snapshot of this much larger purchase tracking system.

Percentage of total dining services expenditures on Real Food A (0-100):

Percentage of total dining services expenditures on Real Food B (0-100):

Which of the following food service providers are present on campus and included in the total food and beverage expenditure figures?:
Present? Included?
Dining operations and catering services operated by the institution No No
Dining operations and catering services operated by a contractor Yes Yes
Student-run food/catering services No No
Franchises (e.g. national or global brands) Yes No
Convenience stores Yes Yes
Vending services Yes No
Concessions No No

A brief description of purchased food and beverage products that have other sustainability attributes not recognized above :

• Emory exclusively features Springer Mountain Farms chicken, which is raised in Georgia and is never administered antibiotics.
• Fluid dairy is sourced from the eight-state Southeast region.
• 33% of produce purchases are sourced from within the eight-state southeast region.
• Emory Dining purchases select produce through Bon Appétit’s Imperfectly Delicious Produce program (IDP). IDP produce is product that would normally go to waste due to cosmetic imperfections in size, shape, or color (e.g. scarred zucchini, yellow-bellied cucumbers) or parts of the vegetable that are deemed undesirable or unsellable (e.g. broccoli fines). During FY2016, Emory Dining purchased 10,900 pounds of IDP produce. IDP is not included in the percentage below.

Additional percentage of dining services food and beverage expenditures on conventional products with other sustainability attributes not recognized above (0-100) :

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data reported for 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Emory's Sustainable Food Purchasing Guidelines can be found here: http://sustainability.emory.edu/uploads/articles/2016/08/2016082906292641/SustFoodPurchGuidelns4-21-16.pdf

Emory does not use the STARS and Real Food Challenge definition of local (“within a 250 mile (400 kilometre) radius of the institution” and as of the July 6 Administrative Update Three “extended to 500 miles for meat”), but Emory has tried to comply with the definition and requested changes, despite utilizing a regional definition for "local" food. Emory maintains its definition for many reasons, including: 1) Emory has not been able to locate scholarship to support the Real Food Challenge's distanced-based definition; 2) Emory’s current regional definition is based on the seasonal, ecological, topographical, and economic realities of our regional food system; and 3) Emory's current food sourcing is built from strong relationships with regional partners that extend beyond 250 miles from the institution and that are a core tenet of our local and sustainable food initiatives. The mile-radius definition makes it difficult to align the purchasing needs of an institution with the growing seasons in various regions and varying access to sea, freshwater and land animals, while balancing lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with farmers and producers whose practices support a healthy food system. The definition only accounts for proximity to institutions, which may reduce the motivation for an institution to look outside of the 250 miles for suppliers operating more sustainably. Thus, Emory has adopted a definition of local food as deriving from Georgia and the seven surrounding southern states.

When the origin of food is known to be within 250 miles of the institution, the products are included in the STARS percentage of "All Food and Beverages." After the July 6 release of Administrative Update Three, when the credit was changed to further align with the Real Food Challenge standards, our team had three business days to adjust our reporting for this credit to meet an internal review date before our STARS submission deadline. Our Dining team was able to add two additional meat suppliers who meet the adjusted ownership, size, and distance requirements to be considered local and community-based. These products are now included in our local and community-based count and no longer included in our “conventional animal products” percentage.

The July 6 update, additionally, changed the certified sustainable seafood standards. For all prior versions of STARS 2.1, Seafood Watch “Good” and “Best” purchases were included as Third-Party Verified. Update Three only counts “Best” purchases as Third-Party Verified. Emory’s contractor, Bon Appetit, was unable to review every seafood invoice from the reporting year to distinguish which were “Good” and which were “Best” to then determine a new percentage for the Third-Party Verified section. The Emory team had a limited timeframe between Update Three and Emory's STARS submission deadline to adjust to this change; therefore, Seafood Watch “Good” purchases remain in the Third-Party Verified numerator for Part 1.

On January 24, 2017, AASHE administered STARS 2.1 administrative update two outlining that "Other beverages (non-dairy): soft drinks, sport drinks, and milk alternatives" should be included in the percentage of "All Food and Beverages." Emory does not include these beverages in its sustainable and local food tracking for practical and sustainability-related reasons. Bottled beverages and syrups are purchased through a different ledger than other food and beverage purchases and have never been included in Emory's internal tracking of local and sustainable food purchases. Emory, therefore, did not alter its numbers to include bottled beverages, pending resolution of the issues raised by this change. Dairy products and alternatives, coffees, and teas are all included and are areas in which Emory makes progress to source more environmentally- and socially-conscious products that are better for human and animal health, progress which is limited in the arena of bottled beverage purchases.

Emory does not include vending services in its local and sustainable food purchases, but data for on-site franchises and the only campus convenience store is included in this section.

Additionally, Emory's Sustainable Food Committee decided on April 4, 2017, to exclude all meat and dairy products from cows treated with ionophores from our list of "sustainable" foods. This Committee reviewed the limited available research on the effect of ionophores on human and animal welfare. The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future was consulted and advised the Committee to maintain its prohibition of products with ionophores from our "sustainable" products because they may be used in human medicine in the future. All anti-microbials can foster the development of resistance, so we are actively looking for sources that do not use ionophores in routine treatment.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.