Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 85.48
Liaison Emmanuelle Jodoin
Submission Date Dec. 6, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Université de Sherbrooke
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Judith Beaudoin
Sustainable Development Coordinator
Facilities Reliability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a published sustainable dining policy?:

A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:

As the Université de Sherbrooke’s primary dining services contractor, Café CAUS adopted, in 2010 , a sustainable development policy. The catering and commercial activities lead to the use of material resources of all kinds which generate waste materials, GHG emissions, just to name those. To better control and minimize such impacts, and to follow the Québec governmental sustainable development strategy, these were some of the grounds to put this policy forward. It includes three specific objectives aimed to promote good practices in the food sector, particularly related to the implementation of eco-responsible management measures to the dining services operations. The three objectives of this policy are to:

1. Inform, raise awareness, educate and innovate
This objective seeks to raise awareness and educate staff and members of Café CAUS (including those from the University Coop) to the concept of sustainable development (aiming to seek a balance between economic, social and environmental issues).

2. Reduce and manage risks to improve health, safety and the environment
Café CAUS ensures further development and promotion of a prevention culture and establishes conditions conducive to health, safety and the environment.

3. Produce and consume responsibly
To the extent that environmental protection has become a priority for many enterprises, Café CAUS also wants to better control and minimize the impact of its activities. It needs to review some of its consumption practices and behaviors in order to reduce its ecological footprint.

Here are some examples of actions promoted through this policy:
1. Ensure waste reduction;
2. Involve local suppliers and support local and regional businesses;
3. Collaborate closely in the attainment of high standards with regard to the organization of environmentally responsible food events, by prioritizing ingredients from short food chains, organic agriculture and/or fair trade;
4. Hold meetings with organizations working in environmental, economic and community development to encourage reflection and propose innovative actions in sustainable development.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:

A brief description of the program to source food from a campus garden or farm:

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a farmers market, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, and/or urban agriculture project, or support such a program in the local community?:

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

From a sustainable development perspective, the University wishes to promote fair trade products, short food chains and organic agriculture. In order to offer accessibility to local products, since fall 2018, Université de Sherbrooke holds a public market on its main campus. For two days, about ten producers and vendors from the Estrie region offer their products to the university community (i.e. maple products, honey, fruit, vegetables, breads, etc.). For the occasion, a University main lane is turned into a pedestrian area, where draws and tastings are also organized on site. As the market is enjoying such success, it is planned to extend participation to more producers and vendors for the next edition.

Apart from the market, for several years now, growers from the Estrie and Montérégie regions are provided with dropping-off points to sell their organic fruits and vegetables (organic food baskets) directly to the university community, on all three campuses of the University. About a hundred people benefit from this service, which is part of the mission of the Fair Campus and Nourishing Strategy, that promotes short food chains and organic food. All suppliers offer different types of baskets in order to meet the needs of individuals and families, who have access to fresh products throughout the summer season and part of the fall.

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?:

A brief description of the vegan dining program:

A vegetarian menu is available every day and sometimes includes a vegan menu. However, purely vegan options are available every day in the central cafeteria. For example, tofu burgers with vegan mayonnaise, textured protein patty burgers, vegetable stir-fries with vegetable proteins and Tonkinese soups prepared on site are available to the university community. In addition, a range of vegan sandwiches is available every day in all faculties’ cafeterias. Finally, oatmeal and fruit, multigrain cereals with soymilk and other grain products are available for breakfast. Thus, it is possible for the university community to have access, every day, to at least one vegan option on campus.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events (e.g. Meatless Mondays)?:

A brief description of the low impact dining events:

The University, along with its main dining concession, Café CAUS, have set up an initiative called "Regional Wednesdays". This initiative aims to encourage local businesses from the Estrie region by making their products known to the university community. Thus, Cafe CAUS, each Wednesday at noon, promotes a dish entirely made out of regional products. Not only this initiative serves to raise awareness on short food chains but also on local sustainable economy.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host sustainability-themed meals (e.g. local harvest dinners)?:

A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:

In order to promote local food, the University’s primary dining services contractor Café CAUS, in collaboration with the Défi 100 % local (meaning 100% Local Challenge) and the Québec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ)), is participating in the "Institutions Eat Local! ", an initiative of Aliments du Québec au menu and Équiterre. The initiative, which brings together more than 200 institutions across Québec, aims to set an example and make consumers aware of the importance of local food. Several institutions and food services are taking advantage of this day to prepare a 100% local menu. It is in this context that Café CAUS has developed a special menu using 100% local food and ingredients (Sherbrooke area) and offered meals on-site (University cafeteria) to the university community. Not only does this day raises awareness to the importance of consuming locally, but it also raises awareness on the daily work done by their food services to source locally. It is an opportunity for the teams and staff to mobilize: a great way to value their work and encourage them to continue in the same way in order to increase the share of local food in daily lives.

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?:

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:

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

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

Fair trade coffee is clearly displayed on the University's coffee dispensers. In addition, large "Fair Trade Campus" banners are posted at the entrance of the main campus cafeteria as well as by the Longueuil Campus food court, and advertisement of the same type is displayed on the Coop window (Café CAUS partner). Several Facebook publications and on-site displays are clearly in view in the different cafeterias to properly identify vegan, non-OMG, organic, gluten-free and local foods.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor engage in outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems:

As part of the BNQ 2100 certified eco-responsible events, Café CAUS participates with various conference organizers in menus development that meet very specific criteria such as proximity, products certified fair trade and/or organic. They are required to carry out research and development in order to meet these requirements. These good practices then transcend into their daily management.

Café CAUS concession (dearler) is also bound by its lease to excel in sustainability research and development. Indeed, "The DEALER is committed to environmental protection and sustainable development. In this sense, it intends to continue the promotion of fair trade and/or organic and/or local products and to promote commercial practices aimed at developing responsible consumption”.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have other sustainability-related initiatives (e.g. health and wellness initiatives, making culturally diverse options available)?:

A brief description of the other sustainability-related dining initiatives:

During the 2018 fall Convocation Ceremony, Café CAUS held a supply point in partnership with the Cantons-de-l'Est Flavour Creators brand (La marque Créateurs de saveurs Cantons-de-l’Est) that showcases agri-food products produced, processed or cooked in the Eastern Townships region. This local products distribution allowed tremendous visibility for more than 10 producers from the region who participated to the event, as the Convocation brings together approximately 10,000 people at each edition.

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?:

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

With respect to food waste prevention, the University, along with Café CAUS (primary dining services contractor), has in place a series of measures to monitor and improve its food management practices.

The operational component of residual materials management has, for several years, been well established on the University's campuses, as indicated in its 2018-2022 Waste Management Strategy (with respect, for instance, to the principles of reducing at source and recovering). For instance, the cafeterias are provided with three-way sorting islands, one of which is for composting, to allow users to minimize the impact of their food waste, and kitchen teams to divert all organic materials from landfill. However, the educational dimension remains essential and is complementary to the operational component, with the university community being in constant motion. With this in mind, awareness-raising lunches are organized jointly by the University's Green Team (student educators’ group) and Café CAUS in order to ensure that the clientele fully understands the importance and impact of each little act. Whether it is during Québec's Waste Reduction Week, during certain major events or during the Sustainable Development Fortnight, the Green Team informs and raises awareness among cafeteria users about the proper use of the various sorting islands, while emphasizing the importance of reducing waste at the source and preventing food waste. These awareness-raising activities are crucial to the development of individual responsibility, if only to instill optimal use of the sorting islands available to the university community; each little action leading to large positive outcomes in the long run. Such activities are just some of the measures taken by the University to achieve sound food management and prevent food waste.

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?:

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

Portioning utensils are mandatory during food service in order to comply with the charter. Also, all plates are standardized in order to avoid food waste and reduce costs. No large format plates are available.

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

A brief description of the food donation program:

Café CAUS is a privileged partner of the Frigo Free Go initiative. It is a self-service refrigerator on campus that allows producers, grocers and restaurants owners to come and deposit their surpluses in order to feed community members and avoid food waste. Café CAUS is one of the first partners of this initiative. Every Friday, Café CAUS puts all its perishable food items into this refrigerator to avoid food waste and to feed the Frigo Free Go community.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses (e.g. converting cooking oil to fuel, on-site anaerobic digestion)?:

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

The University’s primary dining services contractor diverts an average of 1800 kg of cooking oil per year, which is the total amount of cooking oil generated. This oil, recovered from a container, is then converted and returned to the market as essential elements for lubricants manufacturing, animal feed, as well as recovered fuels.

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

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

Wheeled bins are readily available in the various campuses kitchens for collecting pre-consumed organic matter. All compostable materials are then sent to the University's composter.

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

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

In dining rooms, and almost completely everywhere on campuses, users have access to sorting centers (recovery units) providing for compost, recycling and waste disposal all in one place. These multi-purpose recovery units facilitate waste materials sorting, unlike isolated garbage cans. All organic matter is composted on campus and reused on the University’s grounds.

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

A brief description of the reusable service ware program:

Since 2008, the Université de Sherbrooke has permanently eliminated disposable tableware in food services at its main campus. Three alternative options are possible:

1.The use of reusable service ware in restoration site;
2. The use of reusable plastic containers for takeout meals. This option offers reusable take-out service ware, which are sold at all service points or, individuals can bring their own containers;
3. The use of compostable service ware, if the above options are not possible.

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)?:

A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:

All packaging used by Café CAUS is compostable. The same applies to all crockery items including utensils, straws and ready-to-eat food containers, thus making sorting easier for individuals. Compostable service ware is also used at the Longueuil Campus food court and at the Health Campus cafeteria. As a result, more than half a million items of service ware are diverted from landfill annually.

Disposable take-out food containers are not available. All lunch boxes used by the catering service are made out of compostable materials.

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

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

On average, a discount of $0.35 is applied on coffee or tea when the individual has his or her own reusable mug. Café CAUS will also charge $0.50 per compostable take-out service ware, which leads people to bring their own containers or buy the reusable service ware for $3 (often on sale at $2) in order to make it cost-effective in a matter of a few meals.

Recently, the University has introduced a new deposit system, which allows easy access to a reusable coffee mug (La tasse), particularly useful to those who forget their reusable mug. For a $5 deposit, one can use a reusable blue polypropylene cup available at the counter. The Univesity Coop and Café CAUS now offer "La tasse" at the Coop's convenience store, the main cafeteria and all snack bars on the main campus, the Health Campus and the Interdisciplinary Institute of Technological Innovation (3IT). A discount is given on filter coffee when using "La tasse" or any other reusable container.

Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented other materials management initiatives to minimize waste not covered above (e.g. working with vendors and other entities to reduce waste from food packaging)?:

A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:

Here are some other dining services materials management initiatives:

1. Water fountains have been installed to facilitate the filling of reusable bottles as, since 2011, single-use water bottles are banned from the Université de Sherbrooke.
2. Table napkins are certified EcoLogo as to promote recycled fibers.
3. Milk, cream and sugar are available in bulk as to reduce plastic pods.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.