Deliberate Dining Certification Program



Duke Dining Introduces a New Sustainability Certification Program

Duke Dining has introduced a new certification program that will encourage accountability in sustainability initiatives among Duke Dining locations. The Deliberate Dining Certification is a tool for teaching Duke Dining locations about the sustainability measures that will help make their businesses responsible leaders in the food industry and will also help customers quickly understand the commitment that Duke Dining is making towards sustainability.

As the Duke community becomes more aware of the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the food they eat, they are looking to organizations like Duke Dining to lead the way in creating a more responsible, sustainable food system. 


In January 2018 Duke Dining launched the Deliberate Dining Project, creating a structure through which Duke Dining’s sustainability efforts could be organized and communicated. The Deliberate Dining approach is comprised of four focus areas that each represent a link in the supply chain of food on Duke University’s campus and provide the metrics of which the Deliberate Dining Certification program are measured: Principles, Partners, Prepare, and Provide.

The Principles Focus Area concentrates on the standards that Duke Dining uses to guide its policy decisions.

The partners Focus Area concentrates on the producers and strategic partners that help Duke Dining meet its goals.

The prepare Focus Area concentrates on the culinary, in-kitchen strategies that Duke Dining uses to promote sustainability.

The Provide Focus Area concentrates on the food recovery efforts that Duke Dining employs, diverting food from the landfill and, instead, “providing” food for hungry members of our community or organic material to be turned into compost.


Marcus Carson, assistant director for sustainability and quality control said, “Sustainable dining is deliberate dining. At Duke Dining we think that being “sustainable” means operating deliberately rather than doing what’s easy or convenient. That is, we think it is an essential part of our mission to honor our role as stewards of our community’s wellbeing.”


The Deliberate Dining Certification program will help Duke Dining locations understand the sustainability issues that the food retail industry can address, why those issues are important, and what can be done to improve those issues.  Once certified, customers will be able to instantly identify a Duke Dining location’s commitment to sustainability and, as a result, reward that commitment with their business.

Locations have the opportunity to receive a star rating through a point system, where they can earn points for their different sustainability efforts, and the total number of points they earn determines whether they reach a 1 through 5 star rating.


Congratulations to Marketplace and Divinity Cafe for achieving their 4-star rating!