And I’ll Take a Side Order of Carbon Emission

Last week, The Mixing Bowl and Stanford’s FEED Collaborative hosted our second FOOD IT event on Stanford’s campus. We had an energetic crowd of nearly 500 people and great food and beverage catered by Stanford Catering. It was an uplifting event and we were pleased to make it happen.

Yet, there is one lingering detail from the event that I’ve hung on to. At the end of the evening, after everyone else had left the venue, we were cleaning up and taking down the event signage. And on the registration desk stood one lonely, cold cup of take-out coffee with a conference attendee’s name written on a sticky note. Someone had a single cup of coffee delivered to our conference via Door Dash. The drip coffee catered by Stanford Dining that day was actually pretty good. We didn’t offer an onsite barista during our event, but there was a cafe with espresso drinks just fifty steps down the hall. The saddest part about this cold cup of coffee is that it never reached its intended recipient.

With the billions of dollars invested into hundreds of food delivery companies, why can’t we get a simple carbon footprint calculator for our orders? The Dave Matthews Band can calculate and offset the carbon cost of their tour and airline behemoths like United and Virgin can offer me a way to offset my carbon footprint by using their company’s services, so where are the food delivery companies’ commitment to a better planet? Why aren’t solution providers like Native Planet and Terrapass all over this? A quick Google search does show that there are some food delivery companies, like Medford, MA’s, that do offer a carbon calculator, but where are the others? Would consumers favor a delivery company if they offered an option to assuage their green guilt? Or perhaps many consumers and many of these food delivery companies would rather not have their convenience be bothered by an inconvenient truth.


Rob Trice
Founder of The Mixing Bowl