Climate change is an existential threat to the well-being of our planet and future. Despite the mounting evidence of this impending crisis, corporations across the globe have failed to act. Aramark, Drexel’s food service provider, is a prime example of this corporate negligence. Drexel students are not only consumers of Aramark food, but also part of a generation that will experience the most devastating impacts of climate change. We therefore believe that Aramark must commit to reducing its climate emissions and show us that they care about the future of our generation and our planet.
Every day, the threat of climate change draws closer, as fires engulf Australia, polar ice caps melt and global temperatures creep to dangerously high levels. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, greenhouse gas emissions have reached unprecedented levels since preindustrial times. This spike in emissions can be attributed to human activity in numerous industries. One industry that often goes unnoticed is the food industry — more specifically, the animal agriculture industry. The United Nations estimates that animal agriculture accounts for nearly 15 percent of our carbon footprint, which is equivalent to the pollution generated by the transportation industry. This is largely due to the climate-polluting effects of producing red meat and dairy.
If Americans cut one quarter-pound of beef a week, it would be like taking 10 million cars off the road for one year. And while individuals can do their part in consuming less meat and dairy, the food industry must also do its part. Aramark serves millions of Americans in universities, hospitals, prisons and sports arenas. As one of the largest food service providers in the country, Aramark should take the lead in corporate sustainability. Even a slight shift in its menus would have a consequential impact on our carbon footprint, both on a national and global scale.
As environmental awareness surges on campuses across the country, Aramark’s food should be consistent with our values. Drexel students have shown they are concerned about the future of our planet; at multiple campus events such as a film screening, UCity Climate Rally and Urban Eatery Die-In, Drexel students have made it known that they expect Aramark to do better. Us students therefore believe that Aramark should commit to a 20 percent reduction in emissions associated with climate-intensive menu options, such as red meat and dairy. By doing so, Aramark can finally take responsibility for the impact that its menus have on climate change. If Aramark is unwilling to make this change, we think Drexel should not renew its contract with Aramark.
The climate crisis is expected to cause an additional 250,000 deaths per year between 2030 and 2050. If Aramark fails to commit to climate-healthy menus, we believe actions like theirs will be partially responsible for these deaths. As young people, we will bear the greatest impact of Aramark’s inaction. Aramark, set an example for other food companies and lead in corporate responsibility. Reduce our carbon footprint as a nation and a globe. Commit to climate-healthy menus. Show us that you are invested in the future of our generation and our planet. The climate is rapidly changing — Aramark, will you?