Green Governments And Non-Profits

Sustainable Chicago Restaurants and Food Services

The Green Seal Pilot Standard for Sustainable Chicago Restaurants and Food is the result of a year-long project between the Green Restaurant Research Team (GRRT) at the University of Chicago, the Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition, and Green Seal. The project began with an evaluation by the GRRT students of the Green Seal Standard for Restaurants and Food Services, GS-46, culminating in a report outlining findings on the environmental, policy, and economic aspects of the GS-46 Standard as they relate to Chicago restaurants and sustainability goals. With this information, Green Seal has developed an adapted standard that is specifically aligned with the sustainability goals of Chicago and is practicable for retail operations to achieve while still representing leadership.

The Pilot Chicago Standard begins with a focus on environmentally responsible food purchasing. Life-cycle research conducted by Green Seal determined that over 95% of environmental impacts from the day-to-day operations of a food service come from the food purchased and used. This information on environmental impacts, as well as surveys of Chicago consumers conducted by GRRT, led to the development of criteria requiring that restaurants purchase a minimum amount of organically or locally grown foods. In addition, the standard sets criteria for restaurants to reduce their waste, through composting and recycling requirements, and reduce water and energy usage. As a whole, the requirements create a comprehensive set of practices food service operations can follow to decrease their environmental impacts.

Public Comment & Pilot Certification Program

The Pilot Chicago Standard is now closed for comment.  For information on the Pilot Standard, comments received, and comments responses, please visit the Pilot Standard development webpage.

While the standard is open for comment, Green Seal is accepting applications from Chicago restaurants and food service operations to participate in a pilot certification program to help develop the standard.  For more information on the pilot certification program, or to participate, please email Cerise Bridges at or call 202.697.4168.