Aramark ramps up sustainability

Aramark has implemented several policies to help Temple reach its goal to be carbon free by 2050.

The Valaida S. Walker Food Court in the Student Center is one of several locations on Main Campus where food is composted by Aramark. | RACHEL SILVERMAN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Aramark has added several sustainability initiatives to Temple’s dining services since beginning its 15-year contract this May.

Aramark added its sustainability platform called Green Thread, which is a four-tier approach to sustainability. This guides Aramark’s efforts for becoming 100 percent sustainable by 2020 in some areas.

Green Thread focuses on responsible food sourcing, waste minimization, efficient operations and transportation management to lessen waste.

“That platform represents [Aramark’s] ongoing commitment to reduce our impact on the environment through practices that enrich and support the natural environment,” said Endri Baduni, Aramark’s resident district manager.

As part of this platform, Baduni said Aramark sources food within a 50-mile radius whenever possible. The waste minimization tier is largely focused on pre-consumer waste, like reducing water and fuel consumption while sourcing and transporting food, which is why Aramark aims to source food locally.

Currently, 100 percent of fryer oil used in dining services is recycled. Aramark wants to serve 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2018 in an effort to support animal welfare. By 2020, Aramark also plans to serve 100 percent sustainable seafood, Banduni said.

At an operational level, Aramark monitors waste on a daily basis by weighing food waste at the end of the night, Banduni said. Aramark also participates in composting programs in the Student Center, Johnson & Hardwick cafeteria and in Morgan Hall’s dining hall and food court.

Aramark’s sustainability efforts are a part of a university-wide trend, said Michael Scales, the associate vice president of business services.

“The majority of the companies that the university selects to do business with do have a sustainability focus or commitment,” he added.

Representatives from Aramark, Business Services and the Office of Sustainability meet monthly to discuss areas of sustainability in food services.

“Through conversation and awareness, we can come to a level of mutual agreement or at least standards that we both can live with,” Scales said.

Temple’s Climate Action Plan, which outlines the university’s sustainability goals, will be revised by June 2018, and Aramark will play a part in it, Banduni said. Temple made a commitment to be a carbon-free university by 2050 last year.

“Our aim is to be as compliant as we possibly can be, recognizing that sometimes there may be challenges that could present some roadblocks,” Scales said. “If there is a one-off item, we’ll discuss that and come up with a mutual agreement.”

Aramark is working with Temple Student Government and its Director of Grounds and Sustainability Sarah Kuchan. The first meeting of the student-led food service committee will be set up soon, Banduni said. This committee will provide a platform for student feedback and suggestions for Aramark’s services, including its sustainability initiatives.

Kuchan has not spoken with Aramark since she was appointed to her position earlier this month, but she will “hopefully” meet with them this week, she said.

Kathleen Grady, the director of the Office of Sustainability, declined to comment on the work between Temple and Aramark.

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