Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.21
Liaison Julie Hopper
Submission Date July 29, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Southern California
OP-7: Food and Beverage Purchasing

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.24 / 6.00 Elias Platte-Bermeo
Sustainability Program Assistant
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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:

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

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):

USC Hospitality’s suppliers were requested to send detailed reports listing all items purchased by on-campus dining and catering operations for the time period analyzed (March 1-31, 2019 and September 1-30, 2019). Reports include all commodity categories below:
- Meat
- Dairy
- Poultry
- Fish/seafood
- Eggs
- Produce
- Baked goods
- Grocery/staples
- Tea and coffee
- Other non-dairy beverages

Measuring is based on total overall purchases divided by total sustainable items purchased. USC Purchasing and Data Analytics team analyzed the information to ensure that it meets the AASHE STARS 2.2 guidelines.

Plant based foods purchased during the reporting timeframe (March 1-31, 2019 and September 1- 30, 2019) were identified by tagging all vegan ingredients used by USC Residential Dining in the menu management program, CBORD. USC Residential Dining's definition of vegan does not include any animal products or products made using animal products in the manufacturing process. USC Hospitality's dietitian tagged all items for CBORD and worked with the Systems department to run the appropriate report showing total expenditures for these items for March and September 2019 for Residential Dining. For this report, items were then categorized according to the menus of change guidelines.

Website URL where the institution’s validated Real/Good Food Calculator results are publicly posted:

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 No No
Student-run food/catering services No No
Franchises (e.g., regional or global brands) Yes No
Convenience stores Yes No
Vending services Yes No
Concessions No No

Total annual dining services budget for food and beverage products:
$5 million - $9.9 million

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

Sustainable sourcing is a process of purchasing goods and services that take into consideration the long-term impact that affects the people, planet, and production involved. Consideration is taken on how products are made, where they come from, and how they are transported. Locally grown foods from farms that value animal welfare and nutritional integrity play an important role in the sourcing process.

USC Hospitality has exceeded the Sustainability 2020 goal of 20 percent sustainable food purchasing by 2020. As of August 2019, nearly 39 percent of USC Hospitality’s food purchases came from sustainable sources. Reporting is based on Residential Restaurant units only. Restaurants, banquets & catering, and “retail” (franchise and branded/packaged food products) were too demand-driven for inclusion in the initial Sustainability 2020 measurement period.

USC Hospitality uses the following food categories and definitions in its sustainability metrics:

Seafood is sustainable if it meets at least one of the following criteria:
- Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certified
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Watch Sustainability Ranking System (MBA Sustainable)
- Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)
- Sea Pact Member (sustainability improvement within seafood industry)

Protein (meat) is sustainable if it meets at least one of the following criteria:
- Never Ever Program Member ​(​hormone free/antibiotic free/not fed animal by-products)
- Certified Humane Raised & Handled
- American Grassfed Association Certified (AGA Certified)
- Pasture Raised

Produce is sustainable if it meets at least one of the following criteria:
- Locally sourced within 275 mile radius or within the state
- Antibiotic free
- USDA Organic
- Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
- Protected Harvest Certified
- Non-GMO Project Certified
- Farm Sustainability Assessment
- Sustainably Grown Certified

Groceries are sustainable if they meet at least one of the following criteria:
- USDA Organic
- Fair Trade Certified
- Non-GMO Certified
- Global Growers
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)

Dairy is sustainable if it meets at least one of the following criteria:
- Locally sourced within 275 mile radius or within the state
- USDA Organic
- Non-GMO Certified
- Antibiotic Free
- Pasture Raised
- USDA Graded Cage-free
- rBST free

Disposable Items are sustainable if they meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) Certified Compostable
- Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) Certified
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified
- USDA Certified Biobased Product
- EcoLogo Certified
- Green Seal Certified

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

Data source(s) and notes about 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.