Taking Stock of Our Food System

UB will study our food systems to reduce their carbon impact and aim to reduce food-related carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. Small changes in our diet, like reducing meat consumption, can make a positive impact on the environment.

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  • Phase I (2021): Attain a baseline of the carbon and nitrogen impact of our university's food system.
  • Phase II (2025): Develop key targets and milestone dates to achieve a goal of a 50% reduction of carbon in the food system.
  • Phase III (2026): Complete a food system masterplan for the university.


The Good Food Purchasing Program will guide UB on its path to assessing the impact of our food system and decreasing it over time. In addition, the working group will develop guidance and policy recommendations that will assist with implementation. 


Fall 2022 - Spring 2023

Carbon Icons.

In April 2023, Campus Dining and Shops adapted their dining hall menus for dinner service every Monday evening.  These recipes swapped ingredients that were better for the environment (like tofu instead of beef in a stir-fry) to highlight the importance of sustainable food choices. In conjunction with this, they launched a greenhouse gas rating system for these menus,  labeling each dish with an icon that informs the consumer how impactful their meal choice is (low-impact, mid-impact, and high-impact). The purpose of the initiative is to encourage students to look at the environmental cost of meat and not to forbid it, while highlighting the taste, health and environmental benefits of a plant-based meal. The message hopes to inspire the understanding that lowering meat consumption one day per week can have a large impact.

Fall 2020 - Spring 2021

For the first time the university has a baseline of our greenhouse gas emissions of its purchased food. 

A graph outlining UB's carbon footprint for 2020.


  • Captain: Christina Hernandez, interm vice president for Student Life.
  • Adam Coats, Assistant Director, Campus Dining and Shops.
  • Raymond Kohl, Marketing Manager, Campus Dining and Shops.
  • Lucia Leone, Assistant Professor, Community Health and Health Professions.
  • Derek Nichols, Sustainability Engagement Coordinator, UB Sustainability.
  • Neal Plazio, Executive Chef, Campus Dining and Shops.
  • Jared Strohl, Office of Inclusive Excellence.

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