UBC Undergraduate Research

Benmarking sustainability : preliminary mapping of progress with the University of British Columbia's Food System Project : past, present and five years ahead, 2011 Yeung, Elander Yee Har; Ng, Ken Steven; Cheng, Linda Shin Ling; Wilson, Maureen; Gondo, Nobuo; Silvie, Silvie; Lammers, Steven Michael


This report represents research on the UBC Food System sustainability project for the Land, Food and Community III class within the faculty of Land and Food Systems. Since 2002, this project has generated a multitude of research reports and campus sustainability initiatives without having a system to track its progression in achieving greater or lesser sustainability. This Community Based Action Research project was given the specific task of mapping this progress from pre-determined indicators that attempt to measure its subsystems’ and overall past and current status regarding sustainability. These subsystems include the UBC Food Services, Alma Mater Society, UBC Farm and UBC Waste Management. Benchmarks were then created as future goals for which the UBC food system− and its components− will strive to attain. These benchmarks were integrated into a model which acts as a ‘visual framework’ to portray the general vision of a sustainable UBC food system and secondly to document and evaluate the projects progress. It was determined that the two purposes of the model would be best embodied by two distinct representations. Borromean Rings, portraying the general vision can serve as an educational tool and an amoeba graph as a managerial one. The findings revealed that out of 31 indicators, 16 were preliminary benchmarked. The remaining 15 could not be benchmarked either because the data is not available or because the indicator itself needed to be re-assessed altogether. It was concluded that the benchmarking process would be more efficient if indicators were developed through a specific set of criteria before being benchmarked. 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.”

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