The Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center (DPELC) continued its “Future of Innovation, Sustainability and the Law Speaker Series” in February. The series is co-hosted by the MSL program and the Animal Legal Defense Fund student group. Ilana Braverman, co-founder and COO of Greener by Default, spoke to students about Greener by Default and their mission to make plant-based food the default meal option in the catering landscape.
Greener by Default is an international initiative that partners with organizations to make plant-based food the default meal option, while giving diners the choice to opt into meat/dairy. Since fall 2021, the DPELC has adopted a Greener by Default approach to catering, which has been met with a positive reaction from Northwestern Pritzker Law students. “This strategy allows the DPELC to contribute to larger efforts to reduce carbon impact and improve health and inclusivity, all while preserving freedom of choice,” said Allie Reid, program coordinator for the DPELC. “By ordering 100 percent plant-based options, the DPELC is able to extend our core values of inclusivity, kindness and sustainability to our food choices.”
Braverman’s work focuses on the nexus of climate change, behavioral science and food. In 2020, she gave a TEDx talk on the topic, “Moving Beyond a Hamburger Default World.”
Over the last four years, plant-based menu items have increased 800 percent throughout the nation, according to Braverman. In 2022, New York City Health and Hospitals partnered with Greener by Default to launch a plant-based menu option in NYC hospitals. LinkedIn San Francisco did the same thing. Northwestern University main campus established a Greener by Default initiative chapter to get plant-based options in the Foster-Walker Complex dining hall. Since then, several Northwestern organizations have adopted the Greener by Default model, including Fossil Free Northwestern, Student Engagement Office, Wildroots, and many more.
The “Future of Innovation, Sustainability and the Law Speaker Series” features experts working at the intersection of sustainability and the law, with a focus on the plant-based food industry. Its mission is to help reduce our reliance on animal protein and improve animal welfare. Throughout the series, the DPELC has explored multiple aspects of the intersection between sustainability and the law, examining how sustainability can be built into every level of entrepreneurship from the conception of an idea, to the formation of the business, to the scope of funding.
The final event of the series for the 2022-23 academic year will be March 8, featuring Randall Abate, assistant dean for environmental law studies at the George Washington University Law School. “Dean Abate’s talk emphasizes the types of connections the DPELC is seeking to highlight in our programming,” said Reid. “The Future of Innovation, Sustainability and the Law Speaker Series has given us the opportunity to bring together speakers where entrepreneurship, environmental issues, health, and animal welfare don’t come across as discrete issues but as a collaborative effort. Looking to the future, we hope to continue forging connections between these spaces and to highlight the ongoing progress being made.”