Everyday Food Choices Can Be Climate Action

UMass Dining is the first university dining program to partner with My Emissions to analyze and rate the carbon impact for individual dishes using an A through E rating system. The A through E rating is based on the carbon intensity of the dish, looking at each
ingredient and its lifecycle as a whole. The UMass Dining Sustainability team is focusing on reducing the carbon footprint of food on campus since
approximately 1⁄3 of all carbon emissions stem from the food industry. A campus-wide survey conducted in the fall of 2021 revealed that 75% of UMass
students say that it is important for them to reduce their personal carbon footprint. These survey results reveal that students are more environmentally
conscious than you may think and a joined effort will make a major impact. It is one of the core values of UMass Dining Sustainability to reduce our carbon footprint and this is a leap in that direction. With UMass Dining’s new carbon ratings on the menu identifiers, it is easier than ever to eat for the environment and make a positive impact on the planet every day.

How Does it Work?

The carbon impact of each dish on the menu is calculated based on a comprehensive life cycle assessment performed by My Emissions. This life cycle assessment takes into account each food’s specific journey, including where and how it’s farmed, transported, and packaged. Based on this emission calculation, each dish is rated on a scale of A-E in which A-rated dishes have the lowest carbon footprint and E-rated dishes have the highest carbon footprint.

Where are the Carbon Ratings Located?

The carbon ratings can be found on the menu identifiers, on the UMass Dining app, and online. On the UMass Dining app, you can even filter by carbon intensity to make eating for the environment even simpler.

What Does Eating for the Environment Look Like?

Eating for the environment looks different for everyone and it does not necessarily mean taking on a vegetarian or vegan diet. There are also options like a flexitarian diet which is focused on the reduction of carbon-intensive foods so it is primarily vegetarian but occasionally includes meat and fish. Here are some A-rated plates to make the next time you dine in Worcester DC!