Westmont strengthens its commitment to sustainability in the DC
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Westmont’s dining services consistently serves chicken, fish, poultry, or beef at almost every station for nearly every meal. A study from Washington State University, Pullman in 2012 stated that for each ¼ pound of beef produced in the United States, an average of 14.6 gallons of water, 64.5 square feet of land, and 0.126 pounds of methane are wasted. Balancing these numbers against Sodexo’s own 2014 estimates that it purchases around 50 million pounds of beef each year, this would mean that approximately 2.92 billion gallons of water, 12.9 billion square feet of land, and 25.2 million pounds of methane (a greenhouse gas that causes global warming) every year for beef alone.
Nathan Underwood-Schuchman, Sodexo’s food service manager and unit controller, stated in an email that Sodexo remains dedicated to environmental sustainability, citing its numerous sustainability initiatives like the Better Tomorrow 2025 roadmap that commits itself to “sustainable sourcing and reducing our carbon footprint.” According to Sodexo, the program has allowed the company to “set a target to reduce carbon emissions by 34 percent from its operations and supply chain between 2011 and 2020.” Westmont’s waste and carbon reduction commitments align with the pledge to serve local and plant-based options on campus.
Other schools using Sodexo have sustainable food sourcing options like Johns Hopkins University’s Meatless Monday program that was launched in 2010. Underwood-Schuchman indicated a new “digital waste tracking systems in the [DC] kitchen that is able to give … good metrics about post-production metrics on each item on our menu.” This initiative, according to Schuchman-Underwood “outlines our commitments as a global business leader to make positive impacts on individuals, communities, and the environment.”
The official statement by Sodexo through email read, “[our] efforts to eliminate all avoidable food waste, outlined in our corporate responsibility roadmap Better Tomorrow 2025, are amplified through global initiatives including WasteWatch powered by LeanPath.” This program allows Sodexo kitchens to “collect, measure and track the amount of food wasted in pre-production (such as food that is prepared and cooked but not plated). Adhering to food safety policies and county health codes, Sodexo at Westmont College works to donate surplus food when applicable to local charities as part of Sodexo’s commitment to aid in ending hunger.”
The commitment also pledges itself to “sustainable sourcing and reducing our carbon footprint through a partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Sodexo is creating a new methodology to measure and reduce the carbon embedded in its operations and supply chain. This information has allowed Sodexo to set a target to reduce carbon emissions by 34 percent from its operations and supply chain between 2011 and 2020.”
The Horizon did not find answers to questions about specific information relating to meat consumption at Westmont, such as exact numbers of meat products that are wasted after each meal, which meal often offers the most meat, and the average amount of bean burgers that are consumed each week by the dining commons itself.