Default Veg

Project name: Default Veg: UVic’s Food Carbon Footprint
Project cost: $18,000
Money awarded: $10,000
Project leaders:

Nicole Fetterly (Staff)

Holly Cecil (Staff)

Status Completed Nov 30, 2021

Campus Sustainability Fund Final Report

The Default Veg Initiative: Measuring and Reducing Food Emissions at the University of Victoria (2021)

Project Summary

This project set out to determine UVic's Food carbon footprint, having won recognition in the Climate Solutions Challenge in 2021. The project involved measuring and reducing food emissions by examining food purchases, food-related scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and food-related carbon opportunity costs. By understanding UVic's food emissions and highlighting health co-benefits of plant-based diets, Default Veg made recommendations for emission reductions and promoted these strategies through campus engagement events.

Summary of Success

Using 2019 as a baseline year to calculate scope 3 emissions for the first time, Default Veg identified food emissions in 2019 to be 3,258 tC02e (tonnes carbon-dioxide equivalent). They also conducted a menu analysis for the majority of outlets on campus to identify the percentage of plant-based items available in 2019 as well as the percentage of red, yellow and green tier menu items as classified by the World Resource Institute Protein Scorecard. This initiative recommends a 30% decrease in overall food emissions with a variety of strategies outlined in their final report. 

To raise awareness on campus, their successful Chili Popup Event October 21st, 2021 served hot plant-based chili and a bun, from Degrees Catering, to 250+ visitors from our campus community, with plant-based ‘ched shreds’ served by Daiya Foods. The event promoted Fair Trade week, with free coffee, tea and cocoa served by the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability.