Our Initiatives

As a guest, it is easy to make smart environmental choices when you dine at Salem State University. We know today's college students want to do the right thing for the planet and we also understand you lead busy lives, so your Sodexo chefs and managers do a lot of the work for you behind the scenes! This commitment was formalized with Sodexo's Better Tomorrow Plan, which includes 18 commitments for a brighter future by focusing on four key priorities: health, planet, community and our people. We know we can all work together to make a positive impact right here at Salem. In addition to the many initiatives we take on as a company, we have implemented the following programs specific to Salem.

Food production accounts for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, and helping people increase the share of plant-based foods in their diet is a critical step in reducing those emissions. Sodexo has launched plant-based menus in hundreds of accounts across its University, Healthcare and Corporate Services segments. The new menus, featuring 200 plant-based recipes, were created in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the World Resource Institute-Better Buying Lab (WRI), to meet consumer demand for plant-based options and reduce the environmental impact of food offerings.
Plant-based and plant-forward choices are a global priority and part of every food offer we create. In 2018 we created over 200 new plant-based recipes like Kung Pao Cauliflower and Carrot Osso Buco. We recently worked with 15 supplier partners to support the scaling of these recipes. Every Mindful by Sodexo recipe contains 50% fruits and vegetables. We've partnered with the Humane Society of the U.S. to train 240 chefs on plant-based culinary cuisine and will expand this program in 2018. Our proprietary beef-mushroom mix, the Natural, is made up of 25% mushroom and 75% antibiotic and hormone-free beef for big taste, better health and a lower carbon footprint.

Collaboration with our partners helps us bring new plant-based and plant-forward options to the millions of consumers we serve everyday. 

Our partners: 

  • The Humane Society of the United States 
  • Better Buying Lab

Simply increasing the proportions of plant-based in a dish helps address the world's most pressing challenges. 

For the environment: Production of animal-based foods account for around two-thirds of agricultural' s production-related greenhouse gas emissions. 

For our health: Individuals who followed a mostly plant-based diet had a 28% reduced risk of developing heart failure. 

An 18 week plant-based dietary program boosted employee productivity, while alleviating symptoms of anxiety, depression, and fatigue. 

5 Pillars of Sustainable Seafood

We are committed to serving 100% sustainable seafood to protect our seafood supply and ocean ecosystems for future generations. Our 5 pillar strategy: 

  1. Maintain a wide variety of species in our menus 
  2. Ban species at risk and implement control measures for others
  3. Use Eco-standards or labels
  4. Source sustainable aquaculture
  5. Collaborate with WWF to improve the sustainability of seafood choices in the marketplace 

Local Suppliers

More than ever, people want to know where their food comes from; who grew it and who prepared it for them. Through our vendor partners, we currently source local meats, seafood, produce, dairy, and other products from farmers and producers all over New England. We communicate our local sources through a variety of methods, including local farm maps that pinpoint the local farmers and suppliers we support and more detailed farmer biographies. We also work within our immediate communities to support local farms and business, and work to bring these partners to Salem State for special events like our Localvore Meal and Local Vendor Fair.

Sustainability Map


Food waste in landfills creates methane, a greenhouse gas which is 21x more potent than CO2. (www.epa.gov) Our first priority is to reduce food waste. We compost food waste that is unavoidable which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and can also be used to amend soil thereby increasing drought tolerance, improving soil structure and health and reducing need for water and fertilizers. 
Local Results: Our pre-consumer (kitchen) and post-consumer (behind the plate return) food waste is collected and composted at Waste Management. 
CORe® is Waste Management's organic recycling program that converts food waste into EBS®, an organic slurry that generates green energy at four locations in North America.

APEX™ Dishwashing System

As part of its commitment to increase the sustainability of its operations, Salem State Dining Services uses Ecolab’s Apex™ dishwashing system. Apex combines technology and products designed to save water and energy, minimize the impact of products on the environment, and has a built-in method of measuring results. Apex uses a unique combination of detergents, rinse additives, equipment and consultative services to address the operational challenges in food-service operations. The Apex management approach uses a tablet PC and wireless technology to communicate with the system's controller to download, process and analyze data to establish each food-service operation's "rack-to-guest ratio." By monitoring and improving this ratio, the system helps reduce the amount of water and energy used at each facility, and improve total operational efficiency.
All locations will benefit from using less water, energy and labor, thus minimizing their operations' overall environmental impact. In addition, the Apex system further supports Dining Services' sustainability initiatives with non-caustic chemistry and 95% less packaging material than current methods. Apex products come in a compact solid form that significantly reduces transportation shipments compared to bulkier liquid detergents.

Xpress Nap Holders

XPressnap dispensers are another solution to reducing energy and waste. They use 30% less paper than traditional napkin dispensing mechanisms which helps the environment while helping to keep costs down. The napkins are made of 100% recycled paper and the dispenser will encourage customers to take (and waste) less napkins. Energy is saved because less power is used to recycle paper products than to create them from virgin material. According to Xpressnap, enough is saved through using recycled napkins to power 600 American homes for an entire year! More than half a million gallons of oil were saved ‘ 38 tanker trucks worth ‘ and 41 tons of pollutants were kept out of the environment. Using recycled napkins diverted 4,131 cubic yards of paper from landfills. This is enough to cover a football field with a stack of paper two and a half feet deep. Find these napkin holders at all campus dining locations!

Other Materials Management Initiatives

• Our napkins are made from 100% recycled content paper (90% post-consumer).
• Paper towels are made from 100% recycled content.
• Office paper is made from 30% post-consumer recycled content and is FSC certified.
• We print double-sided in our offices when printing is necessary.