UCSF Sustainability Stories

Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact, March 2017 updated July 2021

America To Go:  Green Leaf Icons Make it Easy to Plan a Zero Waste Event

Last December, we detailed the steps for creating a green, zero-waste event. This post dives deeper into tip #2, pick a green caterer. Pulling off a green event will be much easier if you select a caterer familiar with UCSF’s LivingGreen Event Guide. UCSF has just launched a new green leaf icons on the America Go/BearBuy Website to make it easy for UCSF meeting and event planners to identify on–campus and off-campus caterers that have been certified by the Office of Sustainability as meeting UCSF’s zero waste and sustainable food requirements.

America to Go: As Easy as 1 Leaf, 2 Leaf, 3 Leaf

In 2015, Supply Chain Management (SCM) and the Controller’s Office began requiring all on-campus catering orders, both takeout and delivery, be placed through the America To Go (ATG) Punch-out in BearBuy. ATG is an online food ordering company that UCSF uses to facilitate catering purchases for on-campus meetings and events.  ATG offers a BearBuy Punchout with menus from over 60 contracted caterers and restaurants to select from. To-date, 13 have been certified by UCSF’s Office of Sustainability, making it easy to select a caterer that complies with UCSF’s Zero Waste Event Requirements. Please encourage all your vendors to get certified.

Caterers submit documentation describing how their sustainability offerings meet UC’s Criteria for Sustainable Food Practices. Based on that documentation, vendors are given one leaf for each level of designation. You can see this designation on the caterers list and on the caterer’s front information page:

• 1 Leaf - Zero Waste: Caterer has agreed to follow UCSF’s Zero Waste Catering Guidelines.

• 1 Leaf - Sustainable Food: Caterer demonstrates at least 20% of all food and beverage purchases meet UC’s criteria for sustainable food OR demonstrates that 20% of menu items meet ASSHE STARs criteria for sustainable food and beverages (caterer labels menu items in America To Go system).

• 1 Leaf - Green Business Certification: Caterer is Green Business certified (either through the Bay Area Green Business program or through the Green Restaurant Association

Caterers can earn one two or all three leafs.  To select a green caterer, look for the green leaf icons on the UCSF ATG/Bear Buy website, which indicates that the caterer meets UCSF’s sustainability requirements.

Certified Vendors

To-date, the following ATG caterers have green leaf icons. Please support these green vendors:

1. Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria: Zero Waste Event Designation
2. Bi-Rite Market/Catering: Zero Waste Event Designation, Green Business Certification
3. Breaking Bread: Zero Waste Event Designation
4. Carmelina’s Taqueria: Zero Waste Event Designation
5. City Smoke House: Zero Waste Event Designation
6. The Hugh Groman Group dba Hugh Groman Catering & Greenleaf Platters and Phil’s Sliders: Zero Waste Event Designation
7. Ladle & Leaf: Zero Waste Event Designation
8. Le Mediteranee: Zero Waste Event Designation
9. Little Green Cyclo: Zero Waste Event Designation
10. Palio Caffe: Zero Waste Event Designation
11. Peasant Pies: Zero Waste Event Designation
12. Tacolicious: Zero Waste Event Designation
13. Ted’s Market: Zero Waste Event Designation

UCSF Green Event Planner Certification

The UCSF Office of Sustainability seeks to recognize UCSF staff implementing zero waste and sustainable practices at UCSF events and meetings. To be certified, you must be taking into account a range of issues when planning your events, including:

• Carbon Neutrality (15 points possible): This category provides you points if you communicate electronically for registration, announcements, and resource materials, encourage use of public transportation, and use teleconferencing when possible for meetings.

• Zero Waste (58 points possible): This category provides you points if you are following best practices to reduce waste, ranging from ensuring that you are recycling and composting with appropriate signage to following zero-waste food requirements to using decorations that can be reused.

• Sustainable Food (13 points possible): This category provides you points if you incorporate vegetarian and vegan food options, select LivingGreen caterers on ATG/Bear Buy, donate left-over food, incorporate signage, and reuse of non-perishable items.

UCSF Office of Sustainability staff is available to assist you with this assessment. This certificate is for individuals, not for departments. Please e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to set up a meeting to review the document with a staff member from the Office of Sustainability. Certification is based on the percent of the total possible points: Platinum (100%), Gold (90%), Silver (80%) and Bronze (70%).

Once the assessment is reviewed and accepted, the certification is good for two years. Criteria and other requirements may change over time.  The certification requires all events to meet the same standards indicated in this assessment.

Green Events Planner Training

In March UCSF is offering a series of free events to train event planners on how to easily create a zero-waste event. The training will cover a range of topics, including:

• The City’s plans for food waste, catering, restaurants, and how the city’s compost is processed;
• Healthy Eating Guide/UCSF healthy beverage initiative;
• UCSF Green Event Planner Certification process; and
• The story of compostable utensils.

Two March events have been schedule and both are currently sold out. Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to get your name on a waitlist. Confirmations will be sent March 15.
• Mission Bay, Genentech Hall, N-114, March 22 - Wednesday - 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
• Parnassus, Campus Library, CL 221 & 222, March 29 - Wednesday - 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM