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Arizona State University taking part in program focused on low carbon footprint meals

Some ASU students can now show their commitment to climate action through their choice of meals.

This semester’s menu for residential dining halls includes more dishes with lower carbon footprints. Aramark says it’s the first contract catering company to adopt the Cool Food Meals badge.

The World Resources Institute created the program. It looks at a meal’s ingredients and analyzes emissions from the agricultural supply chains and the land used to produce the food. If the dish’s carbon footprint falls below an established per-meal threshold and meets nutrition safeguards, it’s approved.

In a prepared statement, Edwina Hughes, head of Cool Food at World Resources Institute, said young people are some of the loudest voices calling for climate action.

“Students, faculty, and staff will now have an easy way to put their climate ambitions into action — whether that’s lunch after class, at a football game, or picking up late-night food. This is about helping people make climate action a simple and core part of their lifestyle,” she said.

Aramark examples of low carbon footprint dishes include Mediterranean falafel plate and roasted beet and goat cheese sandwich.

“Our own research has shown that 60% of consumers want to reduce their meat intake,” Jack Donovan, president and CEO of Aramark’s Higher Education business, said in a press release.

Arizona State is among 10 universities taking part in the program. Others include Florida State University; Slippery Rock University; St. Bonaventure University; the University of California, Irvine; the University of Mississippi; the University of North Carolina, Wilmington; the University of Virginia; and Western Washington University.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.