Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.69
Liaison Ciannat Howett
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

Emory University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Taylor Spicer
Programs Coordinator
Office of Sustainability Initiatives
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a farmers market, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or urban agriculture project, or support such a program in the local community?:
Yes

A brief description of the farmers market, CSA or urban agriculture project:

The Emory Farmers Market was started in 2008 by the Sustainable Food Committee and continues to be a weekly tradition on Emory’s campus. Every Tuesday during the school year and monthly over the summer, up to 25 farmers and producers sell seasonal produce, honey, eggs, diverse ready-to-eat options, artisanal breads and other baked goods, and fair trade and locally roasted coffees. Customers of the market include students, faculty, university and healthcare staff, and hospital visitors. Market programming includes efforts to reduce plastic and other waste, to educate about seasonality, to demonstrate healthier cooking options, and to highlight global slow food traditions.

The Oxford College Organic Farm hosts a three season CSA program for students, staff, and faculty at Oxford College and Emory’s Atlanta campus. Participants can choose to buy a share for the entire season (April-November) or individual seasons: spring (April-June), summer (June-August), and fall (October-November). CSA boxes are available each week for pick up on campus, and CSA boxes are returned and reused from week to week. The CSA has 30-50 participants each season.

The Educational Garden Project offers students, faculty, and the Emory community an opportunity to engage in local, sustainable food production. Through education, awareness, and meaningful work, the educational gardens offer opportunities to grow local, seasonal, diverse, and healthy food. Six food gardens, one medicinal herb garden and one garden that provides plants that enrich primate diets are scattered across campus. All gardens are run by volunteers with the guidance of a part-time Educational Gardens Coordinator and a Gardens Intern for the summer. The Coordinator and Intern lead garden workshops, tours, and general campus outreach and education.

In the summer of 2018. Emory University Hospital partnered with The Common Market to be a site for their Farm Share program which is a year round CSA style fruit & vegetable subscription program with options to add on egg and cheese shares. The program is open to the public though most of our members are Emory Healthcare employees.

The Emory University Hospital food service team has operated a garden at an offsite hospital location primarily to grow tomato for the retail operations and patient meals. Additionally, hospital staff cultivate over 25 mature muscadine plants on-site and sell them in the cafes and offer them on the patient menu when in season.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a sustainability-themed food outlet on-site, either independently or in partnership with a contractor or retailer?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:

Kaldi's Coffee became the main coffee shop on campus in Fall 2015 and now has three locations. According to their mission, "Kaldi’s Coffee is dedicated to creating a memorable coffee experience for our customers and guests, committing to sustainable business practices, providing educational opportunities, and supporting the communities that we serve. It is our mission to exceed competition and continue company growth by executing the above fundamentals. Kaldi’s Coffee will strive to develop team members, build our brand, and promote our products." On Emory's campus, all of Kaldi's coffees and teas are fair trade certified and roasted locally when possible. Educational signage about fair trade principles is on the wall in their coffee shops to educate customers.

The Green Bean, student-run on-campus coffee venture, is committed to nurturing the community and environment while maintaining a practical and profitable business. Student employees are involved in the evolution of business practices and provide a fuel of creativity. The Green Bean sells coffee from Cafe Campesino, a fair trade and organic coffee roaster in Americus, Georgia, in addition to fair trade and organic tea, hot cocoa, and pastries. The Green Bean started as a student-run enterprise, and transitioned to Kaldi’s management in Fall 2018, but maintained an all-Emory-student staff.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor support disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through its food and beverage purchasing?:
Yes

A brief description of the support for disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:

Emory Dining purchases directly from Treehouse Milk (https://treehousemilk.com/) for pecan milk and from Emerald City Bagels (https://www.emeraldcitybagels.com/), which are both local, women-owned businesses. Emory Dining also purchases from Pure Bliss, a 100% organic certified business based in Atlanta. Pure Bliss is also a weekly Farmers Market vendor.

Both Emory Dining and Emory University Hospital purchase produce from the local food aggregator, The Common Market, who sources entirely from local farmers, many of whom are women and people of color. This food hub makes selling to institutions like Emory accessible for small, local farms. https://www.thecommonmarket.org/locations/the-common-market-georgia/our-farmers


Estimated percentage of total food and beverage expenditures on products from disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events or promote plant-forward options?:
Yes

A brief description of the low impact dining events and/or plant-forward options:

Through signage, online daily menus and menu emails, and interactive information tables, guests learn how to make low-carbon diet choices, reduce waste, and the importance of eating local. The online daily menus allow diners to view vegan, vegetarian and local menu items available at each dining location. The residential dining hall has a 100% vegan station. Cox retail food market promotes Meatless Mondays each week. Every April, Emory Dining hosts Earth Day celebrations in these two locations to raise awareness about the impacts of our diets on the planet.

In addition during Fall 2016, Emory Dining developed an educational campaign titled, “Eat the Seasons” to help students, staff, and faculty identify produce that is in season according to Georgia’s own growing seasons. Using a series of stickers (winter, spring, summer, fall) that adhere to menus and signage around the café, guests can easily identify items that are in season. The goal is to help educate students why certain items are plentiful at certain times of the year and less so at others (for example, why fresh blueberries are absent in January), and promote the demand and consumption of more seasonal foods.

Bi-annually, one of Bon Appetit's Executive Chefs, hosts a cooking demonstration in partnership with the Slow Food Emory campus chapter, utilizing organic produce from the Oxford Farm to create a vegan meal. The demonstration includes hands-on participation from the students, as well as sitting and enjoying the meal together.

In the Emory University Hospital cafés, one meatless entree is available at lunch and dinner daily in the retail food service operations. The salad bar in the Clifton Café offers exclusively plant forward options with much of the produce coming from local farms via The Common Market.

In January 2019 Emory University Hospital began hosting monthly cooking demonstrations in the Clifton Café which featured a chef and dietitian demonstrating plant-based recipes to both hospital visitors and staff.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a vegan dining program that makes diverse, complete-protein vegan options available to every member of the campus community at every meal?:
Yes

A brief description of the vegan dining program:

Every café has menu options that include vegan protein sources at every meal. Guests can also make standard non-vegan menu items vegan on request. The online daily menus allow diners to view vegan, vegetarian and local menu items available at each dining location.

The residential dining facility has a vegan dining station that offers vegan protein sources at every meal. Options include tofu, tempeh, seitan, a variety of beans and legumes, and whole grains including quinoa. Other Emory Dining cafes offer vegan options, including house-made bean burgers, hummus vegetable wraps, scrambled tofu, and build-your-own pasta or stir-fries with vegan sauces and tofu.

In the hospitals, vegan meals are available for patients; vegan entrees and sides are designated with a special symbol on the posted a la carte menu for retail food services.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor inform customers about low impact food choices and sustainability practices through labelling and signage in dining halls?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability labelling and signage in dining halls:

Emory has a comprehensive labelling system to help guests find a meal that best suits their dietary needs and provides information regarding sustainability as well. Specific icons are placed next to each menu item to designate items that are vegan, vegetarian, halal, kosher, made without gluten containing ingredients, contain humane animal proteins, contain sustainable seafood, and/or contain ingredients produced locally (within an 8 state region). Farm and source names are included in menus wherever possible. In spring 2017, Emory will also add an icon to designate fruits and vegetables that are in season in the geographical region. Throughout the year, cafes promote specific local farmers and vendors through signage and biographies. Vegan, vegetarian and local menu items for all Emory Dining locations are also noted on the online, interactive daily menus and in the daily menu emails.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor participate in a competition or commitment program and/or use a food waste prevention system to track and improve its food management practices?:
Yes

A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:

As of November 2015, Bon Appetit requires its cafes to conduct biannual Weigh the Waste campaigns to track both pre-consumer waste produced in the kitchens and post-consumer waste produced by guests in the cafés. The Bon Appetit staff, Office of Sustainability Initiatives, and student volunteers coordinate a week-long Weigh the Waste campaign each semester in which volunteers ask all diners to scrape their edible and inedible waste into containers that are weighed and tracked. Diners are also asked to explain whether they had a clean plate and if not, why they wasted food. At the end of the week, the results are communicated in the dining halls and through electronic communications with calls to action for diners. Qualitative feedback, e.g. the pizza crust is too thick, is also communicated to the Bon Appetit staff to consider when prepping food.

Emory University requires that all Emory Dining halls and outlets have pre- and post-consumer waste programs that have bins for co-mingled recycling streams and composting. No landfill bins are used.

In the Emory University Hospital, there is a pre-consumer composting program in place. Leftovers are tracked daily in an effort to better gauge future production needs.


Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented trayless dining (in which trays are removed from or not available in dining halls) and/or modified menus/portions to reduce post-consumer food waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the trayless dining or modified menu/portion program:

Emory’s temporary residential dining location, the DUC-ling, which was used from summer 2017 through summer 2019, did not enclose enough space for completely trayless dining. In order to feed diners in a timely manner and to prevent diners from going back and forth into the server, trays were provided. However, it does have a variety of plate and bowl sizes available for use. Two stations feature tapas-style offerings with smaller portions. The salad bar includes a variety of choices including small bowls and full-size plates. At another group of stations, students can request just a portion of the meal (e.g. a side) and receive a smaller plate. The preceding residential dining location, the DUC, and the succeeding location, the Dobbs Common Table, served diners without trays.

In Cox Hall, which is a dining venue with multiple vendors from which customers can purchase food, trays are not available.

In the Rollins Café, which is a dining location operated entirely by Bon Appetit staff who cook and serve individual meals for customers, trays are also not provided.

The WoodREC and the Student Activity & Academic Center (SAAC) dining locations for second-, third- and fourth-year students also do not serve food with trays.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:
Yes

A brief description of the food donation program:

Emory Dining partners with Emory Food Chain, a student-run organization which launched in 2014 and collects food that would otherwise go to waste to donate to area food pantries and shelters. Annually, Emory Food Chain recovers between 2,00 and 4,000 pounds of food that would otherwise have gone to waste. Emory Food Chain picks up from the residential dining location and Cox Hall throughout the school year.

Emory Dining also established a partnership with the Office of Student Success Programs & Services to coordinate multiple student Dooley Dollar Donation Drives. Students purchased organic, nutritious products, including shelf stable milks, grains, and tinned/canned products, to donate to anonymous, food-insecure classmates through the food pantry adjacent to campus. These Drives were aligned with academic year breaks, e.g. fall break, winter break and spring break, to help students secure the food they need.

The hospital cafes make weekly prepared food donations to Second Helpings Atlanta, a nonprofit food rescue organization whose mission is to reduce hunger and food waste in the Metro Atlanta area by rescuing surplus food and distributing it to those in need. The focus of this program is on donations of higher protein food items such as eggs.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses?:
Yes

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

Used fryer oil is collected from two Emory Dining locations and the Emory University Hospital cafes by Southern Green Industries (SGI). SGI filters the oil and sends it to an additional processor for conversion to bio-diesel. Emory University purchases biodiesel for use throughout its campus shuttle system, the Cliff Shuttles.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

Emory partnered with Southern Green Industries (SGI) to coordinate a comprehensive composting program for Emory's campus. Pre-consumer food waste is collected in Emory's Dining facilities and deposited into 32 gallon bins that are serviced by SGI. SGI transports the material to an interim sorting facility in Atlanta, and then delivers it to the Laurens County Composting Facility where the material is processed into compost. The compost produced at the Laurens County facility is then purchased by the Emory Grounds Department and used for semi-annual planting beds, capital projects, and to amend existing landscape beds including the Educational Gardens on campus. Food, fiber, and compostable services residuals that can be composted in either pre-consumer or post-consumer composting streams include:

*meat, poultry, fish
*shellfish and bones
*eggs and dairy products
*table scraps and scrapings
*fruits and vegetables
*bread, dough, pasta and grains
*coffee grounds, filters & tea bags
*paper towels, napkins and plates
*paper take-out containers
*pizza boxes
*paper cups
*waxed cardboard and paper
*products made from bagasse (sugarcane fibers)

In the Emory University Hospital, there is a pre-consumer composting program in place. Leftovers are tracked daily in an effort to better gauge future production needs.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

Emory has partnered with Southern Green Industries (SGI) to establish a comprehensive composting program for Emory's campus. Post-consumer food waste is deposited into dedicated composting bins or scraped off plates and collected by Emory's Dining Services, Building and Residential Services (BRS), and Emory Recycle’s staff. The materials are deposited into 95 gallon bins that are collected and sent to Southern Green Industries (SGI) for sorting. SGI transports the material to the Laurens County Facility where the material is processed into compost. The compost produced at the Wilbros facility is then purchased by the Emory Grounds Department and used for semi-annual planting beds, capital projects, and to amend existing landscape beds including the Educational Gardens on campus. Post-consumer composting is taking place in all dining facilities, and in all major buildings and exterior spaces on campus.

Food, fiber, and compostable services residuals that can be composted in either pre-consumer or post-consumer composting streams include:
*meat, poultry, fish
*shellfish and bones
*eggs and dairy products
*table scraps and scrapings
*fruits and vegetables
*bread, dough, pasta and grains
*coffee grounds, filters & tea bags
*paper towels, napkins and plates
*paper take-out containers
*pizza boxes
*paper cups
*waxed cardboard and paper
*products made from bagasse (sugarcane fibers)
*PLA products (corn-based)
*Animal bedding (corn and cotton based)


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor utilize reusable service ware for “dine in” meals?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable service ware program:

All service ware in the main residential undergraduate dining hall, the Dobbs University Center (DUC) from Fall 2016-Spring 2017, and in the temporary dining hall, the DUC-ling from Summer 2017 to Summer 2019, was reusable, with exception of the kosher meal program . Dine-in customers in the food court dining venue, Cox Hall, can choose reusable service ware instead of compostable utensils, which are intended for those take their food to-go.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor provide reusable and/or third party certified compostable containers and service ware for “to-go” meals (in conjunction with an on-site composting program)?:
Yes

A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:

All service ware in the main residential undergraduate dining hall, the Dobbs University Center (DUC) from Fall 2016-Spring 2017, and in the temporary dining hall, the DUC-ling from Summer 2017 to Summer 2019, was reusable, with exception of the kosher meal program. To-go items were not available in these location, so there were not compostable containers available.

All to-go materials in the food court dining venue, Cox Hall, are compostable or recyclable. The to-go utensils, bowls, cups and clam shells are all compostable. Sushi is served in recyclable plastic containers. Compost and recycling bins are available to customers inside and immediately outside the facility. There are not any landfill bins inside or outside of this dining venue, only recycling and composting bins, which are accompanied by color-coded visuals that show which materials go in each bin.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor offer discounts or other incentives to customers who use reusable containers instead of disposable or compostable containers in “to-go” food service operations?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable container discount or incentives program:

At all campus dining coffee locations, customers who bring their own reusable containers are given a $.10-$.15 discount, depending on the location.


A brief description of other sustainability-related initiatives not covered above:

Emory Dining is a committed partner in the Healthy Emory initiative, an enterprise-wide program with a vision to “[use] its expertise in research, health care, and higher education to engage, inspire, and support each individual to live healthy and flourish.” Emory Dining collaborated with university stakeholders to devise the Better Choice labelling program, which highlights entrees and sides that adhere to specific dietary guidelines.


Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Data reported for 2017, 2018 and 2019 fiscal years.

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.