Sodexo Promotes Sustainability

Sodexo, the leading multinational food and facilities services management company, recently announced its partnership with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an independent, non-profit organization that endorses the sustainability of marine life through the operation of its wild-capture fisheries. Sodexo publicly stated that in an effort to promote environmental awareness and healthy eating, all of its contracted, wild-caught seafood purchases made in North America will be provided solely by the MSC. As Colgate is one of the 6,000 locations serviced by Sodexo, some changes can be expected as far as on-campus dining is concerned.

Director of Dining Services, George Murray, said that though he can’t be certain when the new products will become available, it will likely be months before any changes come to Colgate’s campus.

However, Murray did express his excitement about the progress Sodexo is making in promoting environmental awareness.

“I think it’s a great decision, something that will be welcomed by all Sodexo customers and Colgate students,” Murray said of Sodexo’s new environmentally friendly policy. “It’s a way to drive change, another way we’re trying to promote sustainability. Hopefully, this will bring social awareness to the fishing industry and the importance of caring for the marine environment.”

Murray compared the sustainability movement to the free trade coffee craze, and expressed his faith that, with sufficient marketing, sustainable eating will become just as much of a priority, particularly for college students.

Certainly some degree of publicity will be necessary to notify students of changes in the seafood that Colgate dining services will offer.

“I think it’s great that they’re [Sodexo] doing something that’s better for the environment, but unless they make an effort to let us know about it, I don’t think anyone will really notice,” sophomore Jen Ortega, who frequents Frank Dining Hall and the O’Connor Campus Center (Coop), said of the change.

Nonetheless, broadcasting these changes may not necessarily make as much of an impact on students as some have anticipated.

“I don’t really eat seafood,” Junior Nicole Siedhof said. “The salmon’s okay I guess.”

Other students on a Colgate meal plan also admitted that they rarely consume seafood on campus.

Though students may not find fish at Frank particularly appetizing, those who are environmentally conscious greatly appreciate the efforts that Sodexo is making in providing more sustainable food sources. Junior Lauren Rose Graves lives in the Sustainability Townhouse in the Colgate townhouse community. As a member of a community housing environment, Graves works with her fellow residents to carry out a proposal to better the Colgate and Hamilton communities, and, specifically in her townhouse, to reduce the consumption of energy and resources. Graves brought up some points that other consumers might easily overlook.

“I think Sodexo is taking a step in the right direction,” Graves said. “I just wonder where the fish are caught and how far the fish are sent to the packaging plants and then their final destinations. I know that a lot of times in the food production and distribution process, foods are caught or harvested in one location and sent to another location thousands of miles away to be packaged and then distributed once more across the nation and world, which, even if the product is organic or the farm is ‘green,’ the ensuing carbon footprint of the product detracts from the initial appeal of how the food is grown.Other than that, I believe supporting a corporation that promotes sustainability is a positive thing.”

Graves added that, in her view, Colgate students, as well as everyone else, should care about living sustainably because doing so will help reduce the “harmful effects of human civilization and development on the environment.”

“Concerns regarding global warming and resource depletion can be curbed if more people [are] aware of their direct influence on these situations,” Graves said.

Sodexo has announced that these changes will be in full effect by the year 2015.