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Towards a sustainable UBC Food System : part II : indicators of sustainability Chen, Cindy; Funk, Nathan; Kiehlbauch, Laura; Lawhead, Veronica; Manaois, Andrealynn; Pearce, Sarah; Strutynski, Niki; Yong, Cecilia 2003-04-02

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UBC Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Student Report       Towards a Sustainable UBC Food System: Part II: Indicators of Sustainability Cindy Chen, Nathan Funk, Laura Kiehlbauch, Veronica Lawhead, Andrealynn Manaois, Sarah Pearce, Niki Strutynski, Cecilia Yong  University of British Columbia AGSC 450 April 2, 2003           Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report”.  Towards a Sustainable UBC Food System: Part II: Indicators of Sustainability   Group 17: Cindy Chen, Nathan Funk, Laura Kiehlbauch, Veronica Lawhead, Andrealynn Manaois, Sarah Pearce, Niki Strutynski and Cecilia Yong    ABSTRACT: As fourth year students in the Faculty of Agriculture’s Land, Food, and C omm unit y s eries, we have witness ed the gro wing popul arit y of the term “sustainability” at the University of British Columbia (UBC).  In our classes and as a part of the gener al student population we have se en how the us e of thi s word has be en ex pande d be yond rhetori c in act ion toward a mor e sust a inable campus , whethe r in courses that facil it ate s tudent invol vement in actual sust ainabili t y proje cts or in the int roducti on of fair -trade cof fee and reus abl e cup discounts at campus cafe s.  But as we prepar e for our gradu ati on from UBC we have been asked to question, “How do we evaluate the sustainability of the entire campus food system?”  The followin g report is our respons e to thi s questi on.  As a diverse group of agriculture students we discussed, resea rched, an d compi led a paper on how to evaluate the sust ainabili t y of the UBC Food S yste m.  In addit ion to a map of the current UBC Food S ys tem and its components, the report includes clearl y outl ined indi cators and recomm endati ons for eco logical, social, and econ omi c sust ainabili t y.  We have also created a sim ple model that illust rates the le vel of sust ainabili t y as would be reve aled b y these indi c ators.  This was a chall e ngin g, but rewardin g task.  As a group we came to the conclusi on that all three components of sust ainab il it y ar e not onl y critical to the whole s ystem bu t also int im atel y int e rconne cte d with one another.  Whil e we have fo r ged a plan for assessing the sust ain abil it y of the UBC Food S ys tem, we ar e glad to know that future class es will conti nue our work.  This project has provided a gr eat opportuni t y to work in a creati ve and open learnin g environment; mor e so, it has provided the opportuni t y to contribut e to a curren t and important iss ue at UBC.  Whil e you read on, keep in mind that thi s report repres ents an earl y sta ge in the process towa rd a mor e sust ainable UBC campus .        Introduction  The focus of this pap er is to plan and recomm end a method to assess the sust ain abil it y of the UBC food s ystem.  Sustainabl e developm ent, that is, development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs , conti nues to present opp ortuni ti es, potenti al benefits and ch all en ges fo r our societ y.  A sustainabl e food s ystem on the UBC campus would be one that recognizes and respects not only the environmental components and implications of the food system, but both the social and economic factors as well .  We felt , as a group, that all three components are equ all y import ant in achievin g a lon g -te rm sust ainable food s ystem. In an ef fort to promot e fu ture sust ainabili t y of the UBC food s ystem, we br ainst ormed and took an in-depth loo k at important social, eco nomi c and environm ental indi cators.  Our int enti on was to iden ti f y ch all en ges and problems that most students feel towards the food services at UBC, including the chall en ges th at the UBC food s ystem i s currentl y encounterin g and possi bl e recomm end ati ons to improve the futur e succ ess of the food s ystem.  Thus, the obje cti ve of this report is to pro vide suggesti ons for futu re developm ent and fu rther resea rch that will lead to a success ful transit ion towards a sust ainable food s ystem at UBC.  2. A UBC Food System Sustainability Model   For thi s preli mi nar y ass e ssm ent of the sustainabil it y of the UBC Food S yst em, our group felt that a bar grap h would be the best model. To incorporat e ea ch factor of sust ainabili t y (social, eco nomi c, ecolo gical) into a bar graph we brok e ea ch dow n int o percent a ges. The bar gr a ph presents the data in a wa y that is eas y to visual iz e, and shows how close we are to achi eving our goal of perfe ct sust ainabili t y (100%), th ough thi s goal is more of a refe renc e po int than an achiev able lev el. The bar graph also sh ows how the social, ecolo gical, and ec onomi c sust ainabili t y ind icators relat e to one anot her. More specificall y, we ar e able to determi ne not onl y th e overall sust ainabili t y of the food s ystem but also which fa ctors are contribut ing mo re or less to wa rds the tot al food syst em sust ainabili t y. To demons trate the use fu lness of our model, we have included an ex ampl e chart in Appendix II that indi cat e s an aver a ge sust ainabili t y of 55 %. This would signi f y that the UBC food s ystem is sust ainable be cause the sum of our indicators is over 50%. Despit e thi s, b y  looki ng clos er at the data it is evident hat social sust ainabili t y (15% ) is far less than the other factors. Th e bar gr aph ther efor e ex poses deficien cies in the i ndivi dual factors and id enti fies wh ere im provem ents in sust ainabili t y nee d to be mad e. Also, because ou r group consi ders all fa ctors equall y im portant to the overall sust ainabili t y, thi s further mot ivates us to fo cus on improving each fa ctor and not mer el y th e overall avera ge.    2.1 General Assumptions Most of our assum pti ons are indi cato r -spe cific and will therefore be add ress ed withi n the appropriat e secti on of the report.  How eve r, we did make a few broad as sump ti ons that are ne cessa r y to appl y our mod el and to foll ow our re comm endati ons. To appl y thi s sust ainabili t y mod el, we must assum e that the curr ent status of sust ainabili ty of the UBC food s ystem lies betw een 0 and 100%.  As well , to full y appl y and bene fit from our recomm endati ons, ther e needs to be moni toring and ex pansion int o related areas.  We therefor e assum e that future Agricult ur e Scienc es 450 classes will be able and will ing to conti nue thi s project. 2.2 Ecological Indicators C ompos ti ng and Organic Food Avail abil it y are th e two ecolo gic al indicators proposed.  Our go al for ecologic al sus tainabil it y is to compost all the compos table ga rba ge produc ed b y the UBC food s ystem and also to serve onl y or ganic food on the campus    .  In our sust ainabili t y mod el, the avera ge of the tw o indi c ators just mentioned repr esents the ecolo gical factor, whi ch is scaled from 0% to 100 %.  At 100%, all food offe red on camp us will be comprehensive l y or gani c, and also all the compos table wastes from all food outl ets will be compos ted ac cordingl y.  Th e lowest ec ological sust ainabili t y s cale in the model is 0%, and repr es ents that none of the com post able ga rba ge is compos ted an d no organic food is of fer ed by an y UBC food serv ice outl et. 2.3 Social Indicators The two social indi cators proposed in our proje ct evaluate the UBC food s ys tem based on nutrit ion and af fordabil it y.  A meal is nutritiou s if it fulfill s the nutrit ion percentage guidelines of Canada’s Guide for Healthy Eating.  As for the affordability indi cator, our group de fi nes a meal (plus a dr ink) that costs less than five doll ars being afford able.  The aver a ge of those two indi cators re presents the sc ale of soci al sust ainabili t y in our mod el; the scale ran ges from 0% to 100%.  The gr eate r the percent a ge, the mor e soci all y sust ainable is our fo od s ystem.  A 0% m eans that no food service establishments on the campus offer a “nutritious” nor an “affordable” meal.  A 100% is our perf ect state of social sus tainabil it y, and indi cates that that peo ple can purchase a “nutritious” and “affordable” meal at an y food outl et on the campus .   2.4 Economic indicator Our goal for economi c su stainabil it y is to br eak ev en, or in other wo rds, to simpl y cover the costs without making lar ge profit s. Whil e busi nesses gener all y use profit s as indi cators of growth and sust ainabili t y, we assum e that large profit s indi cat e a lack of investm ent in resear ch an d sociall y and ecolo gic all y sust ainable practi c es.  With this in mind, greater deviation fr om zero profit s means that our syst em is not econ omi call y sust ainable         To fit the chosen indi cator, profit mar gin, into the sust ainabili t y model we must subt ract the absol ute value of the prof it margin pe rcenta ge fr o m 100%.  For ex ampl e if the profit margin is 80%, me anin g that 80% of our revenue i s profit , then we are in fact 80% off our go al of breakin g eve n.  Therefo re, we ar e onl y 20% sust ain able (100% - 80% = 20% ).  A further  ex planati on of thi s is found in the Economi c Sustainabil it y se cti on of thi s paper.     3. Ecological Sustainability of the UBC Food System  3.1 Composting at UBC 3.1.1 Background C ompo sti ng UBC 's food waste is a vital part of a move for UBC to becom e a more ecolo gicall y sust ainable s ys tem.  Sevent y pe rc ent of UBC 's wast e is made up of compos table materials, and about half of that cons ist s of compos table food waste cr eated by the campus food outl e ts, housing and other buil ding unit s (U BC Sustainabil it y Coordinator Program, we bsit e).  UBC reco gniz es the importance of compos ti ng and in June 2000 the y cr eated th e BC Compos t Project.  This project works towa r ds reducin g waste b y compos ti ng on both large and small scal e operati ons.  UBC has a waste mana gement dep artment that offers compos ti ng workshops, consult ing, and produces a compos ti ng newslett e r.  This department is also working to promot e l ar ge scale compos ti ng at UBC (U BC Waste Manageme nt, websit e).  At pres ent, UBC has compos ti ng fa cil it ies at St. J ohn's Coll ege, Green 's Coll ege, the Acadia R esidence, several restaur ants in the Student Union Buil ding s uch as the Pendulum Restaurant, and an upcomi ng pil ot proje c t at the UBC Farm (Pui Chi Tam, 2001).  Addit ionall y, a lar ge scale, in- vess el compost ing unit is planned for th e South Campus of UBC (UBC Waste Mana gement, websit e).       3.1.2 Indicator S ince UBC has such a lar ge amount of food waste it is important that much of thi s is compos ted.  We feel that a good indi c ator of ecolo gic al food sust ainabili t y at UBC would be the pe r centa ge of lefto ver food mate rial that is composted by UBC food outl ets.     Compos ti ng is an important indicator bec ause it has such a gr eat impact on the sust ainabili t y of UBC.  Wit h addit ional compos ting we can eli mi nate the need to purchase chemi c al fertili z ers, reduce th e number of trips made to local wa ste stations, and decre ase the amount of garba ge UBC adds to the local landfill (U BC Waste Mana gement, websit e). The per centa ge of food waste compos ted at UBC could be measur ed in a straightfo rwar d manner.  The waste man a gement department could audit ga rba ge from different food outl ets to esti mate the percent a ge of food bein g compos ted.  This s ystem all ows for eas y comparis ons betwe en dif fer ent fo od outl ets, and it would be eas y to off er an incenti ve pro gram to encoura ge th e empl o yees t o joi n the effort.   3.1.3 Recommendations  W e recomm end that futu re studi es of food sust ain abil it y at UBC focus on t he acti ons of indi viduals.  We th ink that compos ti ng has a role to pla y here as well .  A future proje ct would be to measure th e amount of compos ti ng done by indi vidual student s. 3.2 Organic Food Availability 3.2.1 Background To achieve ecolo gic al sus tainabil it y, th e UBC Fo od S ystem must m ake cri ti cal mana gement de cisi ons which all ow it to maintain the resourc es which the s ys tem is dependent upon.  The res ource bas e for th e UBC Food S ystem includes all areas o f food producti on that suppl y fo od retail out lets within the UBC gat es.  Ke y aspec t s of a healt h y resourc e base in clude pro ducing fo od in a manne r that uses minim al non -re newable input s and promotes buildi ng rath er than de grad ati on of ecolo gical compon ents (Gliessman, 1998).  An appropriate indicator of the UBC Food System’s commitment to ecolo gical sus tainabil it y i s the amount of food pro duced usin g or ganic methods that is avail able wit hin the UBC gat es. Organic produ cers us e agroecolo gical p rincipl es to max im iz e the benefits of natural processes and ther efor e eli mi nate the need for s yn t heti c chemi cals.  Althou gh organic regulations differ ac ross the countr y and around th e world, or gani c producti on is based on sim il ar principles that aim to preserve the ecolo gi cal inte grit y of the resour ce base. 3.2.2 Indicator The UBC Farm Market Garden , which runs Ma y through Septembe r, prov ides organic produ ce; howev e r this represents onl y a small proporti on of food avail able on campus .  Organi c foods are not adve rtised as comp onents of menus at UBC or AMS Food Servic e outl ets (UBC Food Services websit e; AMS Food Services we bsit e).  A comprehensive su rve y of the perc enta ge of food s old wit hin the UBC gates that is organi c would determi ne if and where or ganic foo ds are avail able. A basic or gani c food av a il abil it y surv e y shoul d be carri ed out b y 2004 Agri cult ure Science 450 students.  To ex pand on the surve y, s ubsequent classes could ex ami ne the follow-up questi ons as pr esented in Recomm end ati ons below.  Result s of these studi es shoul d be presented to th e UBC Sustainabil it y Off ice, and UBC and AMS Food Ser vic es.  Comm unicati on between these three stak eholders would undoubtedl y unco ver means of increasin g or ganic food avail abil it y on campus .  The UBC Farm would like l y also be int erested in the result s as a means of gau ging thei r contribut ion to the ecol ogic a l sust ainabili t y of the UBC Food S ystem and to observe ma rket trends of th e UBC comm unit y. 3.2.3 Recommendations “Organic” does not necessarily imply “sustainable.”  Future classes should examine the ecolo gical sus tainabil it y of the or ganic foods avail able .  Are as of resea r ch could include the amount of loc all y-p roduced or ganic fo ods avail able and the dist ance tr aveled by the organic food th at is sol d on campus .  Indi ca tors such as these would present a fuller picture of the ecologic al impact of organic foo ds.   4. Social Sustainability of the UBC Food System  S ocial sust ainabili t y, or well -bein g of comm unit ies, is integr al to an y asse ssm ent of sust ainabili t y, as it refle c ts and impacts upon ecol ogic al and economi c sust ainabili t y.  Hence, so cial sust ainabili t y is measur ed b y the abi li t y of a s ystem to all ow the human race and societies to pe rp etuate.  Man y factors can affe ct this perpetui t y inc ludi ng human healt h, social harmon y and social justi ce.  A socia ll y sust ainable food s yste m shoul d follow the char acte risti cs of being participator y, ju st, ethi cal, healt h y, and cult urall y nourishing (Klopp enbur g et al., 2000).  In thi s pap er, we will focus upon tw o indi cators of social sus tainabil it y; n utriti on and afford abil it y of nutrit ious fo od.  We have pres ented models that detail how to evaluate the curr ent status of these two aspe cts o f social sust ainabili t y, and that pr ovide relevant assum pti ons and recomm end ati ons.   4.1 Nutritionally-Sound Food Sources 4.1.1 Background S tudent li fe and universit y cult ur e is stressful and chall en gin g.  To be suc ce ssful under these circumst anc e s, proper nutrit ion is crit ical.  Students and staff in volved in rigorous univ ersit y lif e shoul d be able to easil y fi nd nutrit ious food across the campus .  Given tim e restraint s and the bus y lifest yle associa ted wit h universit y life, man y people find it more effici ent to purchase m eals on campus than to bring nutrit ious food from home.  There are mo re th an twent y food se rvice es tablis hments within the boundaries of UB C; howeve r, the num ber of establi shments tha t actuall y provide nutrit ious meals is currentl y undet ermined.  We, as a group of AGSC students, agree that nutri ti on is critical as a social indi cator of su stainabil it y of the UBC food s ystem.   4.1.2 Assumptions According to Canada’s Guide to Healthy Eating, a nutritionally balanced meal should contain 30% of total calories from fats, 55~60 % fr om carboh ydr ates, and 10~15% from protein.  We define a nut ritiou s meal as one that fulfill s the guidelines pres ented ab ove.  We further assum e that t he majorit y of people wil l perceive su ch a balance d meal as nutrit ious. 4.1.3 Indicator The nutrit ion i ndicator is evaluated on wh ether an establi shment sells a nutrit ious meal that follows the abo ve guid eli nes.  If an estab li shment offers a menu th at fulfill s our nutrit ional guidelines, then we will assi gn it a YES.  We are not evaluatin g how man y nutrit ious food items sold at each lo cati on her e; instead, we are onl y ident if yin g the establi shments that offer nutrit ious meals.  The number of establi shments assi gned a YES will be divi ded by the tot al num ber of establi shme nts at UBC, gene rati n g a percent a ge.  A 100% means the food s ystem is per fect in terms of nutriti onall y sust aina ble; a 0% means the food s ystem compl etel y lac ks nutrit ional sust ainable.  From this point , we will further det ermine how well UBC food s ystem is doing in terms of nutrit ion . On page 81 of th e 2002~ 2003 student agenda  there is a list of UBC food s ervice esta bli shments.  Students participati ng in the sust aina bil it y stud y can use  that list to gener a te an ini ti al idea of how man y establi shments are located wit hin the ph ysic al boundar y of the campus . When time all ows, students will visit buil dings on campus to see if the re is an y foo d outl et not listed in the agenda. The enti re unive rsit y pop ulation, includi ng students, staff and facult y, shoul d be invol ved in the stud y of food s ystem sust ainabili t y.  Future AGSC 450 students should spearhe ad the proje ct; however, memb ers from other fa cult ies ar e welcom e to parti cipate in the sust ainabili t y stud y alon g with the Agricultural Science facult y an d the UBC Sustainabil it y Office. 4.1.4 Recommendations This straig htfor ward scen ario is reco gniz ed as a sim ple start for the UBC sust ainabili t y st ud y.  However, it does not me an that thi s scenario wil l acc ount for the nutrit ional value of all the food items sold on cam pus.  For futur e studi es, we stron gl y suggest that all food item s sol d at each establi shm ent under go a nutrit ional evaluation b y usin g the guidelines of th e Canada Guid e to Healt h y Eati n g.  This ev aluation would require that the total num ber of nutrit ious meals of fered at UBC to be divid ed by tot al number of food items sold   In fact, this per centa ge i s a more accur ate indicator of a fo od s ystem that is sust aina ble for nutrit ion.  Yet, du e to the immense nature of su ch a stud y, we do not feel it is feasibl e as a starti n g po int in this project. The ult im ate go al of the UBC food s ystem sust ain abil it y stud y is to make t he s ystem more sust a inable in eve r y asp ect.  Within the scope of the nutrit ion indicator, a few recomm endati ons can be made.  It can be difficult for a restaurant to int rodu ce a new menu.  Impl em entation of a new menu invol ves repeated testi n g to ensure t he quali t y of the product.  Bec ause of this considerati on, eve r y ye a r we hope onl y to see an incre ase on the nutrit ion indicator scale of our scena rio.  Some suggested wa ys to inc re ase nutrit ional sust ainabili t y are for est a bli shments to consi der the reco mm end ati ons of the Canada Guide to Healt h y Eati n g when plannin g new men u items, change to healt h ier cookin g methods, and incorporat e more fruits and vegetabl es int o their menus.  Our final recomm endati on is in regards to the locati ons of es tablis hments.  Even though a hi gh percent a ge of establi shments ma y offe r nutrit ious food, there is a possi bil it y that thos e establi shments are con ce ntrated in a particular area of campus , su ch as the Vill age.  In the future, we would like to see more establi shments that o ffer nut ritiou s foods open at different loc ati ons of the campus .  The ide al situation is that people on cam pus alwa ys have access to a nutrit iou s meal wit hin five minut e walk.      4.2 Affordable Nutritious Food Sources 4.2.1 Background Another importa nt social sust ainabili t y indi c ator t hat we hav e consi der ed as a group is affordabil it y.  Students have limi ted budgets an d therefor e, aside from n utriti on, afford abil it y affe cts their decisi on to purchase m e als on campus .   4.2.2 Assumptions In o rder for the food s yst em of UBC to be so ciall y sust ainable, a student sh ould be able to purchas e a balanc ed meal and drink for $5 or less at an y food establi shment located wit hin the ph ysi c al boundar y of the campu s.   For cla rificati on, we assu me that a compl ete me al s hould comprise of whol e foods, such as sandwich es, sala ds, rice bowls, or noodles . The servin g siz e for solid foods shoul d be approx im atel y 400 gr ams, 300 ml –500 ml for liquid foods such as soups , and 200 ml for drinks. 4.2.3 Indicator To beg in this stud y, stud ents will have to visit all the food establi shments wit hin the ph y sical bound aries of UBC and dete rmine if students could purchas e a co mpl ete meal for $5 or less. If such a meal is offe red, then we wi ll assi gn the establi shme nt a YES.  We will not be evaluating ho w man y affo rdable food items are sold at each loc ati on; but rather, we will onl y deter mi ne if an establi shment offers an y af fordable me als.  To calculate a sust ainabili t y percent a ge in terms of af fordabil it y, the numb er of establi shments wit h assi gned YES will be divi ded by the total number of fo od establi shments at UBC.  100% means the food s ys tem is compl etel y sust ain able for thi s indi cator, whil e 0% mea ns the food s ystem is uns ustainable for thi s indi cat or.   4.2.4 Recommendations To enc our a ge conti nued i ncreas e in the per centa ge of sustainabil it y in terms of afford abil it y we recomm end that UBC food establ ishm ents reduce int ern al costs with more effi cient input s.  An ex ampl e is conservati on of ener g y.  Using alt ern ate, more efficient fo rms of en er g y will decreas e the input co sts of preparin g the food.  This wil l lead to the possi bil it y of passi ng on savin gs to the consum ers. An ex tension stud y for future students ma y be to find alternate, mor e ef fic ient forms of ene r g y.   Al so, the universit y shoul d ensur e that all food establi shments wil l predomi natel y of fer menu items that const it ute meals for $5 or less. This ma y be a goal of th e UBC Sustainabil it y Offic e to tr y to impl ement such a poli c y.  With these su ggesti ons, we hop e to see an incre ase ever y ye ar on the affo rda bil it y indi c ator scale.  In the future, incr eas es on the score for social sus tainabil it y will lead our food s ystem tow ards 100%, which is our i deal goal for sust ainabili t y.   5. Economic Sustainability of the UBC Food System  5.1.1 Background W hil e all components of sustainabil it y are equall y important, economi c fe a sibi li t y is gen erall y the ke y fa ctor t hat determines wh ether a project is implemented or not.  Ind eed thi s is one of the main point s raised in a UBC Campus Sustainabil i t y Office group discussion or “Sustainability Circle”, it states:  When it comes to decision making, financial realms are usually the priority, while community or environmental aspects take second place… UBC has great policies, but in reality, their implementation all depends on money (Sust ainabili t y Offic e, websit e). We reco gniz e the importance that conti nues to be placed on economi c fe asi bil it y and therefor e we have identif ied a sim ple indicator of economi c sust ainabili t y.  This indicator can be appli ed at bot h ov erall and indi vidual level s in order to determi ne th e sust ainabili t y of the whol e UBC food s ystem and its indi vidual components.  Finall y, we recomm end ex pandin g on thi s indi cator and perfo rming a compl ete Cost Benefit Anal ysis .   5.1.2 Assumptions Bec ause PM  is dependant on the variable Net Income (  ) , it is ver y important that we clarif y ho w this variabl e is attained.  Net Income is equ al to the total revenu e less the to tal costs .  Whil e tot al revenues are eas y to calculate, det ermini ng tot al costs is more compl icated.  We assum e that all costs , including ne gati ve ex ternali ti es, are factored int o t he calcul ati on to the best of our economi c abil it y.  Appen dix III is an outl ine of a basic Income Statem ent tha t shows what we assum e to b e the revenu es and costs of the whole UBC Food S ystem. We also assum e that costs include some fund or fo rm of investm ent that acc ounts for the sensit ivi t y of the UBC Food S ystem.  We rec ogniz e that if costs ar e ba rel y cove red and a ch an ge in the s yste m occurs, the UBC Food S ystem shoul d be able to adjust to that chan ge.  Th ere fore, th e cost anal ysis of the UBC Food S ystem shoul d be conservati ve and all -inclusi ve. 5.1.3 Indicator Profit Margin (PM) is equal to net income divided by tot al rev enue.  This rati o evaluates the efficiency of a system by illustrating the system’s total revenue remaining after costs are deducted.   For ex ampl e, if the PM is 50% then half of the tot al revenu e goes tow ard cov erin g cos ts and the other half is lef t as net income.  The hi gher the PM rati o, the more revenue is left as net income.   It is important to stress that we ar e not tr yin g to max im iz e revenues and net income, but rather to be economi c all y sust ainable.  A sustainable PM is one that is close to zero.  This shows that costs are covered and mone y is n ot wit hheld from other so ciall y and ecolo gicall y valuable pro jects, investm ent in resea rch, and a mar gin that all ows for adjust ments to market shocks and sensit ivi t y.   Profit Margin is easil y m easu red based on data fro m UBC Food Servi ces, AMS food providers, and individual retailers’ financial statements.   First, determine the PM of the whole s ystem.  If the UBC Food S ystem PM is gr eater than 0%, then the s ys tem is economi call y sust ainable . Second, PM shoul d be determi ned for each indi vid ual food provider.  This eli cit s a more detailed unde rstand ing of whi ch food outl ets are mor e economi c all y s ustainable.  Where indi vidual food outl ets are not profit able, the owners can identif y ca uses, how PM might be improved, or if a low PM is due to reaso ns that provide other important social or ecolo gical ben efits. Finall y, an an al ysis of th e other components in th e food s ystem (as outli ne d in Appendix I) should be ev aluated for profit abil it y and areas wher e eco nomi c sust ainabili t y can be improved.  For example, in the “output” component of the food system model in Appendix I it is clear that the mone y s aved from tr ansporting waste of f cam pus is more economi call y viable.   5.1.4 Recommendations Economi c anal ysis is nev er a compl et e measur e; therefo re, the anal ysis must be an ongoin g creati ve process.  We recomm end writ in g and calcul ati ng In come Statements and PM’s on a monthly basis.  The caus es of monthl y ch an ges shoul d be id enti fied and used to conduct sensit ivi ty an al ys es, which predict how future revenu es and costs will react to othe r chan ges wi thi n and outs ide the UBC Food S ystem.  Ex ampl es of sensit ivi t y anal ys es include how do es the PM chan ge wh en: o o       more waste is produc ed on campus ? o o       oil prices and transportati on costs rise? o o       the percent of rec ycle d paper produ cts is incre ased?   In addit ion to mont hl y m onit oring and sensit ivi t y anal ys es we recomm end a compl ete Cost Benefit Anal ysis of the UBC Food S ystem.  A CBA goes b e yond trad it ional economi c indi cators to in clude non -moneta r y and non -market costs and be nefits.   Externali ti es caused b y the UBC Food S ystem sh ould be internali z ed to assess the true value of the s ystem.  A CBA also includes a sensiti vit y anal ysis that predict s the effe cts of future ch an ges on s yst em sus tainabil it y. We reco gniz e that condu cti ng a qu ali t y C BA is an ex pensive and length y process, but we also see thi s as an op portunit y to for the UBC Campus Sustainabil it y Office to link different facult ies in the anal ysis of the UBC Foo d S ystem.   Students fro m departments such as Economi cs, Soci olog y, and Biol og y could have the opportuni t y to compil e surve ys, desi gn models, and esti mate the ben efits and costs of non -moneta r y compon ents of the UBC Food S ystem .  This is a chall en ging t a sk; however, it is an ex er cise in creati n g an import ant ana l ysis tool that man y busi nesses and publi c inst it uti ons use to im plement projects.  The participati on in such a st ud y is a valuable student and car ee r ex perience.  Until a full -scale CBA has been compl eted we su ggest usin g PM as a sim ple indicator of economi c sust ainabili ty as outli ned abov e.   6. Conclusion  The task of ass essi ng the social, ecolo gical, and ec onom ic sustainabil it y of the UBC Food S ystem is ve r y com pli cated.  Our proj ect has provided an ove rview of some of the relevant indicators th at we feel would b e of gr eat u se in this effort. Whil e these aspects of a system could be anal yz e d separat el y, in man y cas es the iss ues invo lved overlappi ng con cepts.  For ex ampl e, while re asonable food prices are a social indicator, the y hel p to ensure the lon g-te rm profit abil it y of food s erv ices.  Other times, the indicators we have chosen impli cit l y su ggest w a ys to impr ove the social, ecolo gical, and economi c sust ainabili t y of the cu rr ent food syst em, and thes e soluti ons have second ar y benefits.  For ex ampl e, despit e bei ng prima ril y an ecolo gic al sol uti on, the compos ti ng of food mat e rial reduc es the mone y needed fo r purc h ased ferti li z er.  The compl eteness o f an y model of food sust ainabili t y depends on its inclusi on of social, ecolo gical, and ec onomi c factors.  To suc c essfull y achieve th eir visi on of a sust ainable campus , UBC must make sure that ea ch of these ke y compone nt s is consi dered.   6. References  AMS Food Services. We bsit e. htt p:/ /www.ams.ub nesses/i ndex .htm l . Accessed March 22, 2003. Gl iessman, S.R . 1998. Agro ecolo g y: Ecolo gic al Processes in Sustainable Agricult ue . Ann Arbor Press. Chelse a, Michigan. Healt h Canada. Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating. Av ail able at: htt p:/ / fb-d gpsa/onpp -bppn/food_guid e_rainbo w_e.htm l .  Access ed Mar ch 30, 2003. Kloppenbur g, J .J ., S. Lez ber g, K. DeMaster, G.W . Stevenson and J . Hendrickson. 2000. Tasti ng food, tasti n g sust ainabili t y: defini n g the at tribut es of an alt ern ati ve food s ystem with competent, o rdinar y people. Human Organiz ati on. 59; 177 -86. Pui C hi Tam, S. 2001. Food and Fisheri es UBC co mpos t project. Canadian Bios yst ems Engine erin g, 24:1. Pg. 11 . UBC Food Se rvices. We bsit e. htt p:/ / Acc essed Mar c h 22, 2003. UBC Sustainabil it y Coor dinator Program. Websit e. Compos ti ng Tool . htt p:/ /www.sust s/compost ingto m .  Accessed March 27, 2003.  UBC Sustainabil it y Offic e. Websit e. htt p:/ /www.sust . Access ed March 27, 2003.  UBC Waste Mana gemen t. Websit e. Compos t Project . htt p:/ /www.rec ycle.ub c.c a/compost .htm l .  Accesse d March 27, 2003.  Appendices  Appendix I: Map of the UBC Food System   The foll owing mod el is a simpl e outl ine of the UBC Food S ystem and its component parts. S ystem  Outputs   Waste   Consum ers   Food Servic es:           UBC Food Services (and their indi vidual outl ets)           AMS food providers           Indivi dual food   Inputs :           Food Products           Machiner y   Rec yc led Mat erial   Appendix II: A UBC Food System Sustainability Model, Example   Economi c  Ecologic al  Social  Avera ge  Percenta ge  70.00%  80.00%  15.00%  55.00%       Appendix III: Income Statement In come Statement UBC Food S ystem 2003   Revenue:  Totals           Food Sales           P roduct Sales           UBC contribut ions           C hange in accounts receivabl e    Total Revenue:        Variable Cost s:             Labour           Transportati on           Machiner y           Maintenance           Food Products           Marketi ng           C hange in inventor y           C hange in accounts receivabl e    Total Variable Cost s:        Fix ed Cos ts:             Tax es           Insur ance           Util it ies           Admini strati ve           Machiner y and buil d ing depr eciation           Ex ternali ti es* (pollution, CO2 gas, ?? ? )    Total Fix ed Cos ts:        Net Income (Total Reven ue – Total Vari able Cost s – Total Fix ed Cos ts)      * Note:  These costs are difficult to evaluate in m onetar y terms.  Th e y shoul d be determi ned and factor ed int o the Incom e Stateme nt to the best of the analysts’ ability.  Howe ve r, we recomm en d that the y be more car ef ull y determi ned in a detai led CBA.    


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