July 15, 2015
Michigan Dining is the first department on the Ann Arbor campus to have all of its facilities achieve the university's Platinum-level certification for sustainability.
The department's seven dining halls, more than 24 cafes and markets, and administrative offices completed the necessary steps to satisfy internal requirements for the highest Sustainable Workplace certification by the Office of Campus Sustainability.
Additionally, 95 percent of Michigan Dining staff members are Planet Blue Ambassadors, designated to advocate sustainability within the university and provide data.
"Our industry already calls for sustainable practices. Michigan Dining has set the bar high for achieving sustainability through both internal and external measurements. It's not only healthy for our diners and employees, but also good for the environment and local economy," said Michigan Dining Director Steve Mangan.
OCS sets sustainability standards and guides departments through the necessary steps for certification, which include an informal inventory of practices, identification of gaps, and actions to implement best practices. Platinum is the highest level of certification.
Michigan Dining was evaluated for recycling practices, procurement of sustainable products such as recycled-content paper and reducing energy consumption by eliminating space heaters. The department received bonus points by implementing pre- and post-consumer composting in all locations, and was credited for procuring and promoting sustainable foods.
Through the university's sustainability initiative known as Planet Blue, the university is engaging the community to meet 2025 goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, transportation emissions and waste tonnage.
Michigan Dining and Michigan Catering are reducing their carbon footprint by buying more local food products for eateries, reducing food waste and conserving water.
• Michigan Dining works directly with local farmers and producers to include sustainable foods in menus. It has a goal of serving 20 percent of sustainable food on campus purchased from farms within a 250-mile radius. Currently, the auxiliary unit is at 12.7 percent for those purchases.
• Michigan Dining is among the first Big Ten universities to achieve Marine Stewardship Council certification.
• In partnership with the Food Recovery Network and Food Gatherers, Michigan Dining donates food each year to relieve hunger in the community.
• Sustainability culture programs aim to educate the community, track behavior and report on progress over time.