Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 92.73
Liaison Emmanuelle Jodoin
Submission Date Oct. 24, 2022

STARS v2.2

Université de Sherbrooke
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Claude Gaulin
Director General
Financial Resources Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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 Université de Sherbrooke promotes Fair Trade (FT) products, supports short food supply chains (SFSC) and organic agriculture.

Since fall 2018, the University organizes a public market on its Main Campus every year. In 2021 we replicated the activity at the Health Campus. For four days, about a dozen producers from the region showcase their products (e.g., maple-based food products, honey, fruits, vegetables, bread, etc.) to the university community.

For the occasion, the campus’s main driveway is turned into a pedestrian area, where commercial exchanges, draws, and tastings take place. Since participants offer FT products, the event is FT Canada certified.

As the market enjoys such success, it is planned to extend participation to more producers and sellers for subsequent editions. The organizers are also considering extending the event to the Longueuil Campus. The institution’s website showing photo of the latest edition of the farmer’s market: https://www.usherbrooke.ca/etudes-medecine/actualites/nouvelles/details/45955

In addition to the farmer’s market, our main SFSC sellers operate drop-off points to sell their produce every week. Each of the three campuses has a drop-off point where students and employees pick up their food baskets previously ordered online. More than 100 users benefit from this initiative. Four regional farms have currently joined the program. Three out of these four farms are Ecocert certified.

At the beginning of the initiative, the offer was only available during the summer and fall sessions. Presently, this service runs all year-round. Institution website showcasing the farmer’s baskets and sellers: https://www.usherbrooke.ca/developpement-durable/campus/campus-nourricier/paniers-fermiers

The Université de Sherbrooke also has an affirmed production of vegetables and honey based on the principles of organic agriculture. The three campuses have community and collective gardens where students and staff grow vegetables. Moreover, the student initiative “Ruche Campus” produces honey from hives located on campus. Honey is marketed internally via a student association, and it is also sold in the main cafeteria. This project obtained Bee City Canada certification in 2020.

Institution websites to community gardens and hives:
https://www.usherbrooke.ca/developpement-durable/campus/campus-nourricier
https://www.usherbrooke.ca/developpement-durable/campus/amenagements/ruches-sur-le-campus-principal


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?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:
---

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:

At the Université de Sherbrooke, the main food service provider Café-Caus is a social enterprise recognized by Quebec Laws as a social economic enterprise (Link to the list of social enterprises in Estrie: https://economiesocialeestrie.ca/jachete/entreprise_sse/). Café-Caus is a non-profit organization that operates under social economy and cooperative regulations.

In turn, Café-Caus purchases some food products and ingredients from smaller social enterprises that are part of its network. These enterprises fall into four categories: (1) Small local farms (Gros Pierre, Ferme du Coq à l’Âne, Pro Jam), (2) Meat from cattle breeders (Boucherie Blouin, Boucherie Face de boeuf), (3) Community-based retailers (Marché cinquième saison, Les amis de la terre, CVA Estrie, Marché de solidarité régionale), and (4) products grown and transformed by student organizations (Ruche campus, Boule d’énergie).


Estimated percentage of total food and beverage expenditures on products from disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:
---

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:

The institution and its main food concession, Café CAUS, have set up an initiative called “Regional Wednesdays.” This initiative aims to encourage local businesses in the Estrie region by promoting their products to the university community.

Each Wednesday, Café-CAUS promotes a dish composed entirely of regional products. This initiative raises awareness on short food supply chains and promotes local economic growth.


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:

A vegetarian and vegan menu is available every day.

Entirely 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 plant-based proteins, and Tonkinese soups prepared on site are offered to the university community.

In addition, a range of vegan sandwiches are available every day in all faculty cafeterias.

Lastly, oatmeal and fruit, multigrain cereals with soy milk and other grain products are available for breakfast. Hence, 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 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:

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.

Advertisement of the same type is displayed in the window of the Coop (which is a Café CAUS partner).

Several Facebook posts and on-site displays are clearly visible 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 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:

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

The operational component of residual materials management has, for several years, been well established on the university campuses, as indicated in its Stratégie de gestion des matières résiduelles [EN: Residual Materials Management Strategy] 2018-2022 (https://www.usherbrooke.ca/developpement-durable/fileadmin/sites/developpement-durable/documents/Strate__gie_de_gestion_des_matie__res_re__siduelles.pdf) (with respect to, for instance, the principles of reducing at source and recovering). All cafeterias are provided with triple-stream stations, one of which is for composting, to allow users to minimize the impact of their food waste.

However, the educational dimension remains essential and is complementary to the operational component, as the university community being in constant motion. Therefore, awareness-raising events are organized by the Équipe ambassadrice en gestion des matières résiduelles (GMR) [EN: Waste Management Ambassador Team], who are responsible for promoting good waste management practices, to ensure that the clientele fully understands the importance and impact of each little act. Whether it is during Québec Waste Reduction Week, or during other major events, the team informs and raises awareness about the proper use of the various stream stations, while emphasizing the importance of reducing waste at the source and preventing food waste.

Lastly, Café CAUS diverts near-expiry food items and untouched meals from catering services to the Frigo Free Go area (https://www.facebook.com/FreeGoUdeS/) every Friday. This is a self-service area on all campuses with refrigerators and dry shelves for producers, grocers, and restaurant owners to come and deposit their surplus. This food is then made available free of charge to the entire student community, thus alleviating food insecurity while contributing in a beautiful way to the reduction of 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?:
Yes

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

Portioning utensils are mandatory during food service to comply with institutional policy.

Also, in dining halls, all plates are of uniform size to avoid food waste and reduce costs. No large plates are available.


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:

Café CAUS is a privileged partner of the Frigo Free Go initiative (https://www.facebook.com/FreeGoUdeS). This is a self-service area on all campuses with refrigerators and dry shelves for producers, grocers, and restaurant owners to come and deposit their surplus. This food is then made available free of charge to the entire student community, thus alleviating food insecurity while contributing in a beautiful way to the reduction of food waste.

Café CAUS is one of the first partners in this initiative. Every Friday, Café CAUS diverts near-expiry food items and untouched meals from catering services to the Frigo Free Go area.


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:

The university’s primary food service contractor Café-CAUS diverts an average of 1800 kg of cooking oil per year from the landfill, which is the total amount of cooking oil generated. This oil, recovered in a container, is converted, and returned to the market as an essential element for lubricants manufacturing, animal feeding, as well as recovered fuels.

Another way to divert food-related products from the landfills consists of using compostable items. All containers provided to customers, when reusable dishes are not available (e.g., coffee cups, containers, and utensils for meals to go), napkins, and paper towels are 100% compostable. These materials go to our compost treatment facility on campus where more than half a million dishware items are diverted from landfills annually.


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:

Wheeled bins are readily available in the various campuses kitchens for collecting pre-consumed organic materials. These compostable materials go to our compost treatment facility on campus. The processed material from the composter is then used in the gardens and adjacent woods.


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:

In the dining halls, and everywhere on the three campuses, users have access to triple-stream stations for composting, recycling, and disposing of waste all in one place.

These triple-stream stations facilitate waste sorting, unlike isolated garbage cans. Organic materials go to our compost treatment facility on campus and is reused on the university grounds.

The institution’s website provides information about the materials accepted and refused: https://www.usherbrooke.ca/developpement-durable/matieres/cueillette/matieres-compostables


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:

Since 2008, the University has permanently eliminated the presence of plastic dishware across its food services. For the university community, there are three alternative approaches:

• The use of reusable dishes in food service locations
• The use of reusable plastic containers to take their meals out of the cafeteria or the snack bar (available at Café CAUS)
• The use of compostable dishes if the above solutions are not available. Plates, glasses (cold and hot drinks), cutlery, and containers provided to customers (e.g., containers for meals to go, utensils, napkins, and paper towels) are 100% compostable. These materials go to our compost treatment facility on campus where more than half a million dishware items are diverted from landfills annually.

All cafeterias are provided with triple-stream stations, one of which is for composting, to allow users to minimize the impact of their food waste.

Information about this initiative is available to users on the institution’s website:
https://www.usherbrooke.ca/developpement-durable/matieres/vaisselle
https://www.usherbrooke.ca/developpement-durable/matieres/bouteilles-eau/


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:

The university’s primary food service contractor, Café-CAUS, uses only compostable or reusable dishes to serve its food products.

Disposable take-out food containers are strictly banned: all lunch boxes used by the catering service are made of compostable materials. Plates, glasses (cold and hot drinks), cutlery, containers provided to customers (e.g., containers for meals to go, utensils, napkins, and paper towels) are 100% compostable. These materials go to our compost treatment facility on campus where more than half a million dishware items are diverted from landfills annually.

Information about this initiative is available to users on the institution’s website:
https://www.usherbrooke.ca/developpement-durable/matieres/vaisselle-compostable
• “Composter même sa vaisselle [DD à l'UdeS - Capsule 1]” [EN : Composting your own dishes]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAXkET4DByM&ab_channel=Universit%C3%A9deSherbrooke


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:

An average discount of $0.35 is applied to coffee or tea when customers bring their own reusable mug.

Café CAUS will also charge $0.45 per compostable take-out service ware, which leads people to bring their own containers or buy the reusable service ware. This is in order to make it cost-effective in a matter of a few meals.
https://www.usherbrooke.ca/actualites/nouvelles/details/40712


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

Other food service materials management initiatives are:

1. Water fountains were installed to facilitate the filling of reusable bottles as, since 2011, single-use water bottles have been banned from the Université de Sherbrooke.
2. Table napkins are EcoLogo certified as to promote recycled fibres.
3. Milk, cream, and sugar are available in bulk as to reduce plastic pods.
4. In June 2014, the Université de Sherbrooke published a Guide institutionnel d’écoresponsabilité [EN: Institutional eco-responsibility guide] for a sustainable event management. This guide has sections on sustainable catering for event organizers. The guide covers categories such as “Responsible catering” and “Waste disposal.”

Information about these initiatives is available to users on the institution’s website:
https://www.usherbrooke.ca/developpement-durable/matieres/bouteilles-eau
https://www.usherbrooke.ca/developpement-durable/gestion-responsable/even-ecoresponsables
https://www.usherbrooke.ca/developpement-durable/fileadmin/sites/developpement-durable/documents/Sur_nos_campus/Guide_institutionnel_ecoresponsabilite.pdf


Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.