Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.61
Liaison Makayla Bonney
Submission Date Feb. 26, 2020

STARS v2.2

Indiana University Bloomington
OP-7: Food and Beverage Purchasing

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.37 / 6.00 Makayla Bonney
Assistant Director
Sustain IU
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Percentage of total annual food and beverage expenditures on products that are sustainably or ethically produced:
5.89

Percentage of total annual food and beverage expenditures on plant-based foods:
33.96

An inventory of food and beverage purchases that qualify as sustainably/ethically produced:
A brief description of the methodology used to conduct the inventory, including the timeframe and how representative samples accounted for seasonal variation (if applicable):

Sustain IU does not agree that the STARS reporting requirements of version 2.2 --excluding local and community based products -- are the best methodology for assessing sustainable food, its impact on carbon and climate change, or a public university's impact on its region. Nevertheless, we have complied with the required methodology with our submission.

The data included here is from FY2019. IU assesses its food procurement annually using methodology outlined from Real Food Challenge. IU has made significant gains in its Real Food procurement, and in FY2019 approximately 10% of all food purchases fit the very strict Real Food guideline of Local and Community Based, Eco-Sound, Humane, or Fair Trade AND containing no disqualifiers, including GMOs, CAFO raised meat, artificial dyes, or heavily processed ingredients. Here, we use 'approximately' because we are completing this work at the same time we submit our 2020 STARS report.

Looking just at local and community based products that might otherwise not fit the above Real Food criteria, we estimate ~18-20% of IU's purchases are procured locally, benefiting the state and regional economy.

To calculate part one of this metric, we filtered all third-party certified Eco Sound, Organic, Humane, and Fair Trade purchases, and included small scale organic or humane-equivalent producers without certification, per STARS guidelines.

For the plant-based part of this metric, we removed all products labeled Meat, Dairy, Fish, Poultry; removed distilled spirits; removed packaged snacks; removed sodas and carbonated beverages; removed all water products; removed instant meal products; removed all mass-produced breads (but not noodles or pasta... per STARS guidelines), and removed confectionery products. The remaining 'plant based' products totals 33.96% of IU's annual purchased food.

Data is pulled annually using the IU Dining Foodservice Management software.
Sustain IU and IU Dining interns assess products and ingredients using the Real Food Challenge standards.

Pulling and assessing the data, making plans for procurement improvement, and assessing student desire of sustainable food is an endeavor that requires partnership with Healthy IU, IU Dining, dietitians, food scholars, and sustainability staff. Sustain IU convenes this work. This work is supported by The Office of the Provost, Sustainable Food System Science, and the Center for Rural Engagement. Because of our status as a public institution and commitment to regional excellence, IU is especially committed to procuring locally grown and raised food items.

There are some vendors and products that are included in our attached list that do not have a third party certification but are local and organic or humane equivalent and included as sustainable products, following STARS's guidelines for exemptions (below, from "2.2 Food and Beverage Purchasing FAQs."

"The exemption is provided strictly for producers that are engaged in sustainable production, but for whom certification is not accessible or cost effective, e.g., campus farms and gardens and small producers. It is intended to apply to a limited set of circumstances in which the institution has a close relationship with a producer and is able to affirm that the production methods used are consistent with internationally recognized organic, responsible fisheries, or fair trade principles. Unless an institution makes extensive use of a campus farm, only a very small percentage of purchases, if any, are likely to qualify under the exemption. An institution is more likely to have the type of close relationship required to qualify for the exemption with a local producer, however there is no requirement that a producer be local to qualify."

Using this guideline, we included 10 vendors that we have close relationships with that we know use either Certified Humane practices without the certification (one of the three meat vendors in this list is actually in the process of writing their certification application) or, are growers that use organic practices but are too small or too ‘young’ of operations to allow USDA Organic to be “accessible or cost effective.” We have close relationships with these 10 vendors, have visited many of the properties, and we know they use these practices but have not certified because of close regional partnerships and research through the Sustainable Food System Science Group, Environmental Resilience Institute, and Center for Rural Engagement, referenced in other STARS categories.


Website URL where the institution’s validated Real/Good Food Calculator results are publicly posted:
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Which of the following food service providers are present on campus and included in the inventory/assessment?:
Present? Included?
Dining operations and catering services operated by the institution Yes Yes
Dining operations and catering services operated by a contractor Yes Yes
Student-run food/catering services No No
Franchises (e.g., regional or global brands) Yes Yes
Convenience stores Yes Yes
Vending services Yes No
Concessions Yes No

Total annual dining services budget for food and beverage products:
$10 million or more

A brief description of the institution’s sustainable food and beverage purchasing program:

Meat-free and low meat entrees are encouraged from time to time via student engagement and education campaigns.

Sustainable food procurement is discussed monthly at the Sustain IU Food Working Group meeting. A subcommittee comprised of IU Dining dietitians and data holders, as well as the students researching the sustainability of products, also meets to work on expenditure tracking, product shifts, etc.

Sustainability is one of the metrics on which vendors and contractors are rated when IU evaluates bids for food and beverage purchasing contracts. This has recently been improved to a range system, rather than a simple "yes" or "no" as to whether sustainability has been addressed; we can now rate vendors as high, medium, or low on the sustainability section of their proposal (which could affect their overall proposal rating).


Website URL where information about the food and beverage purchasing program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Fiscal year 2019 data

More information on IU's work that aligns with the Real Food Challenge can be found here: https://sustain.iu.edu/commitment/food/index.html

Student Athlete Dining expenditures are not included in this analysis.

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.