Parminder Parhar, owner of the Renaissance Cafés, began implementing sustainable practices long before the Sustainable Spaces program came into effect.

Faculty and Staff

SFU dining vendors recognized for environmental, social sustainability

August 10, 2017

By Mandy McDougall

The Renaissance Café and the Poké Bar, two dining facilities at SFU’s Burnaby campus, have demonstrated their sustainability leadership with recent certification as Sustainable Dining Spaces through SFU’s Sustainable Dining Program.

The Sustainable Dining program is a part of a broader Sustainable Spaces initiative at SFU. In addition to restaurants, people can also certify their offices, labs and events.

By completing and submitting an online checklist, SFU spaces and events help the University reach its sustainability goals and receive support from the Sustainability Office, certification, promotion, toolkits and prizes.

Parminder Parhar, owner of the Renaissance Cafés and a well-known member of the SFU community for more than 20 years, began implementing sustainable practices long before the Sustainable Spaces program came into effect.

“We eliminated individual sugar packets and containers for cream and milk a while ago,” he says, adding that he has noticed a substantial reduction in landfill waste since he started providing sugar, milk and cream in bulk.

And recognizing that sustainability expands beyond waste management, he serves only Fairtrade coffee, and purchases local ingredients.

“I feel that I have a responsibility to take action.,” says Parhar. “The more I do take action, the more people will see this, and the more they will incorporate it into their own lives,”.

Rachel Telling, program manager at the SFU Sustainability Office, says the Sustainable Dining Program is a great tool for facilitating sustainable practices,

“There is so much opportunity for restaurants to adopt sustainable practices—everything from food sourcing to cleaning products to energy conservation,” she says.

Telling expects to see an increase in certified dining spaces, as the program celebrates sustainable practices already in place at restaurants, while at the same time highlighting areas for improvement,

Camy Wong, co-owner of the Poké Bar in UniverCity—a much newer establishment that opened earlier this year—is excited that her bar has also been recognized as an SFU Sustainable Space.

“We have an opportunity to educate the community about our sustainability efforts,” Wong says. “We want to serve as an example to other poké restaurants to be as sustainable as possible. We’re young parents who are leaving this world to our kids, and we want to set a good example for them as well.”

Both Renaissance Café and Poké Bar plan to continue expanding sustainability efforts in their restaurants.

Customers can look for the Sustainable Dining ‘certified’ decal—Bronze, Silver or Gold—at points of sale for restaurants at the Burnaby campus.

If you would like to certify your workspace, or if you would like to learn more about the Sustainable Spaces program, please visit the Sustainable Spaces website or email