Concordia works closely with Aramark, the university’s contracted food services provider, as well as with on-campus student initiatives and student-run food services, to identify local purchasing opportunities and develop sustainable procurement strategies to meet them.
Our top sustainability commitments
Concordia University supports local, sustainable food procurement in order to preserve green space and farmland and strengthen our local economy. With that commitment in mind, we set ambitious targets regarding local and sustainable sourcing:
- 75% of local fruits and vegetables in the summer months, 50% in the fall and 25% in the winter/spring seasons (with exception to citrus)
- Reasonable efforts to purchase local frozen fruits and vegetables
- Reasonable efforts to purchase soy-based products produced or processed locally
- Free-run eggs only
- Canadian dairy products only
- Meat and poultry raised without cruelty
- Poultry: 19% raised in Quebec and 6% organic
- Pork: 74% grown in Quebec (with exception of processed pork products)
- Beef: Canadian beef only and 19% grown in Quebec
- Seafood: 94% certified sustainable seafood and No seafood that is on the red list of the Union for Conservation of Nature (UFCN) or any similar organization
- 90% of coffee and tea has to be Fairtrade certified. Generic coffee will not be accepted in non-franchise outlets
- Reasonable efforts to purchase organic products
Local Food Days. On Local Food Days, which are organized once a month in Concordia’s dining halls, a menu developed around a theme which showcases local products.
Concordia was designated as a Fair Trade Campus in 2016, a program of Fairtrade Canada that recognizes leadership in social sustainability. Read more about Concordia and Fair Trade.
What are the benefits of Fair Trade?
- Fairtrade certified farms get additional funds, referred as the Fairtrade Premium, above the purchase price. This premium can be invested in social, economic or environmental projects.
- Most Fairtrade certified products have a price floor, called the Fairtrade Minimum Price. This measure ensures a decent price and stability for farmers at times when market prices drop below a sustainable level.
- The Fairtrade Premium is often invested in better equipment and techniques.
- Through its locally-based liaison officers, Fairtrade International improves access to agricultural services such as organic trainings.
- The Fairtrade Premium is often invested in education and healthcare.
- For certain products, such as coffee, cocoa, cotton and rice, only small farmer organizations can be certified Fairtrade.
- On larger farms, such as some Fairtrade vineyards, workers are allowed to organize independently. Workers also receive Fairtrade benefits that they can reinvest in the community.
Reuse. Cooking oil is sold or donated for biofuel use.
Recycling and composting. Concordia University aims to meet an overall rate of 70% waste diversion. Composting organics from kitchens are is a large component of this diversion strategy.
Bottle free campus. Bottled water is no longer sold in the vending machines and at the dining services. Water jugs are available in the dining areas and at catered events.
“Love your mug” program. Discount coffee prices are provided to the clients who bring their own mug.
Bulk condiments. Bulk condiments are provided in the dining halls and in many cafés.
Trayless dining. Our clientele do not utilize trays to transport their plates. Trayless dining reduces excess food waste, water and detergent use.
Environmentally Preferable Packaging. Retail locations feature:
- 100% recycled content, compostable napkin and paper towel products
- Compostable bowls and plates, take out containers and recyclable or compostable cutlery
- Aramark’s proprietary Express-branded packaging for sandwiches, salads, and parfait cups are either #1 PET recyclable or compostable
- Catering Services will focus on using reusable platters and cutlery and compostable plates
Non recyclables and plastic 6 are restricted.
Aramark collaborates with the Environmental Health & Safety department to develop educational materials for waste stations and launch promotions to encourage sustainable practices.
Concordia has strict guidelines and standards regarding the use of non-toxic cleaning products. EcoLogo products are prioritized.
Concordia Food Services strives to fulfill the dietary requirements and preferences of their varied clientele. A daily selection of vegan and vegetarian options are available in dining halls and retail locations. The Green Beet which is located on the 4th floor of the Hall building features vegan and vegetarian options. To further promote the environmental benefits of eating lower on the food chain, Veggie Mondays features specialty vegan and vegetarian dishes. Best efforts are made to offer culturally diverse menus featuring traditional favorites, ethnic dishes and international flavors, including Halal certified ingredients when possible. To meet the needs of individuals with allergies and dietary restrictions menus include no lactose, and no gluten options.
In 2014, Concordia University received the J.W. McConnell Foundation’s Institutional Food Fund to hire a Sustainable Food System Coordinator. This fund aimed to support institutions’ efforts to improve their procurement practices and supply chain relationships in order to serve healthy, local and sustainable food in their dining halls and eateries.
To further the progress achieved in local, sustainable food sourcing, Hospitality Concordia established the Sustainability and Quality Administrator position in 2019. This position oversees our food service provider’s sustainability targets, which were developed in collaboration with the Food Advisory Working Group. The administrator is also responsible for growing our relationships with sustainable food initiatives both on-campus and in the Montreal community as well as engaging with students about food system issues.
For more information, please contact our Sustainabiltiy & Quality Administrator, Claudette Torbey, at firstname.lastname@example.org.