While the world around us stops in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are faced with the harsh reality that the worst is yet to come.
My name is Jessica Harrington, and as a Temple University student, I am encouraging Aramark to follow in the footsteps of leaders across other industries and commit to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions right now. As someone who is concerned about climate change, I urge Aramark to consider the fact that while this pandemic puts us all at risk, climate change is still the greatest threat to my generation’s future.
Aramark is Temple University’s food service provider, and also serves food at universities, hospitals, prisons and sports arenas around the United States. To Aramark I would say this: People my age make up a large percentage of your product consumers, therefore, you have an obligation to us and to the well-being of millions of Americans. To disregard that food plays a massive role in our country’s greenhouse gas emissions, proves that Aramark is not prioritizing our future.
We have a solution to help Aramark reduce greenhouse gas emissions now. The United Nations estimated that animal agriculture accounts for nearly 15 percent of our carbon footprint, and I believe that number could be even higher. Animal agriculture is climate intensive, largely due to the climate-polluting effects of producing red meat and dairy, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. As one of the largest food service providers in the country, Aramark is responsible for this climate pollution.
That is why Temple students living in the city of Aramark’s headquarters are demanding it commit to a 20-percent reduction of emissions associated with climate-intensive menu options. This shift in Aramark menus will have a consequential impact on our carbon footprint as a nation and a globe, and will not impact the company of Aramark itself nearly half as much as it would benefit the future of the planet.
As the founder and president of Temple University’s Ecological Eating Club, I do believe that individuals should do their part in reducing the consumption of red meat, dairy and other animal products. However, large companies must take the greatest responsibility for the wide share of emissions that these climate-intensive foods generate. As soon as Aramark makes this commitment, they will become a leader in corporate sustainability and serve as a role model for other food companies. Aramark should prioritize our planet over profit margins.
College students will bear the greatest impact of Aramark’s inaction.
So, Temple, we deserve a food service provider that is consistent with our values, and will invest in our well-being. Aramark, commit to climate-healthy menus now. The future of our generation, and planet, depends on it. Temple students expect more.