Food and agriculture have significant impacts on the environment, amounting to around 20 percent of the country’s carbon footprint. Meat and dairy production create higher greenhouse gas emissions and use more water as compared to plant-based diets. An estimated 80 billion pounds—40 percent of all food produced in the United States—is thrown away each year. The method of serving food can also contribute to the waste stream, especially if meals come individually wrapped or involves a lot of unrecyclable packaging. Many activities can not only create opportunities to make meetings and food offerings more sustainable, but they can also help save money.


  • Plant-based foods
  • Local suppliers
  • Seasonal ingredients
  • Organic
  • Compostable or reuseable utensils and dishes
  • Fair Trade coffee


  • Meat and dairy
  • Boxed lunches
  • Single-serve bottled water
  • Styrofoam or non-recyclable or non-compostable dishes or utensils

End of Life

  • Donate unused food to a food bank or food pantry
  • Compost food scraps and spoiled food

Environmental Labels

  • Recycled Content; Green Seal; USDA Organic; Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI); Fair Trade Certification