Greenhouse Gas Analysis

Plant based cauliflower dish

In Fall 2019 and Fall 2021 the University of Waterloo Food Services team partnered with Forward Food to conduct a greenhouse gas analysis of their dining hall menu choices. As part of this initiative, and in alignment with our sustainability goals, we pledged to continue to transition our dining halls to include more plant-based options (20% increase) in the next two years.

Some key statistics information from our efforts to include more plant-based choices include:

Menu offerings:

  • We offer at minimum 2 plant-based protein choices at every station in the dining hall (and most have many more than two!)
  • Plant-based dairy alternatives are accessible and available in our dining halls
  • We feature vegetarian and vegan hot food and salad bar dishes daily
  • We transition ingredients to plant-based options where applicable (vegan gravy and vegan mayo are used across the board in our menus!)

Total food purchases in Fall 2021 represented 3000 metric tons of GHG’s. Taking into account differences in total purchases, UWFS purchased 38 metric tons less animal products than it would have if it had the same proportion of purchases as in Fall 2019.

When compared with the proportion of assessed food purchases from Fall 2019, this reduced GHG emissions by about 14%, or 480 metric tons of CO2 emissions!

The number of plant-based meals was estimated using the USDA definitions for “protein servings” and estimating the number and type of high-protein foods purchased from our data analysis. Using this approach, it is estimated UWFS increased the proportion of plant-based meals served from 15% in Fall 2019 to 19% in Fall 2021.

We continue to strive for a lower carbon footprint and environmental impact in all our practices. Through inclusion of more plant forward offerings each year, we will continue to reduce our GHG emissions and promote balanced and diverse menu choices across our operations.