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Food Sustainability

Sustainable Food Policy

This document forms part of the St Mary’s University Sustainability Policy and covers all outlets and food served by the Catering & Bar Services Department. Catering Services recognises its responsibility to provide healthy and sustainable food to its customers and takes their environmental responsibility seriously.

A sustainable food system is a type of food system that provides healthy food to people while also providing sustainable impacts on both environmental, economic and social systems that surround food.

We work with our suppliers and contractors to minimise negative environmental, ethical and social effects, and provide a range of products which are healthier for the people and the planet.

We aim to:

  • Provide a choice of healthy and sustainable food options to our students, staff, commercial clients and visitors.
  • Constantly look for new initiatives to reduce waste, and re-use/ recycle  more and minimise the impact of waste on the environment.
  • Help the University better its sustainability credentials and goals. 

Catering & Bar Services is an Associate member of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) which puts Sustainability matters high on the agenda and since August 2020 is using Pelican Procurement.  Both TUCO and Pelican are equally committed to sustainable procurement.  Sustainable and ethical procurement has been embedded into the supply tendering criteria. 

  • Deliveries are being reduced to a minimum and we are working with suppliers to see how the use of smaller/ greener vehicles like electric or clean bio diesel vehicles is possible to reduce environmental impact. Delivery containers and packaging is being reduced to a minimum, and must be either re-useable or recyclable where possible.

St Mary’s are also committed to ensuring that there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in the supply chains or in any part of the business. 

The Catering Services Department has the following requirements for all food outlets and services provided:

The Catering and Bar Service use nominated suppliers from within the approved TUCO/ Pelican purchasing framework suppliers.   

  • It will offer Vegetarian or Vegan options at each service, and promotes National Vegetarian Week, and Healthy eating initiatives.
  • It uses fresh vegetables and fruit from British suppliers.
  • It uses British Free Range Eggs, and meat that is produced according to high animal welfare standards like Red Tractor.
  • Catering services serve MSC (Marine Stewardship council) and ASC(Aquaculture Stewardship Council) certified sustainable fish.
  • St. Mary’s has been a Fairtrade supporter since 2011 and has been Fairtrade Certified till 2015. The University is now awaiting recertification for the Fairtrade University and College Award 2020-2022 cohort and will be audited in 2022.  Catering services has promoted the value of Fairtrade and actively celebrates Fairtrade Fortnight every year.  It supports the use of ethically and sustainably sourced products including Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance.
  • The University has partnered with Tchibo Coffee and is Proud to Serve Triple Certified Smokin Bean Signature coffee and Suki Teas in its cafes.

Minimise impact of waste on the environment 

The University has two waste streams in all public areas – Mixed Recycling and General waste. We work closely with the local authority and our waste removal contractor to minimise environmental impact. 

  • None of the waste from catering outlets goes to landfill.  General waste is converted into fuel by the current waste disposal contractor.    
  • All our waste cooking oil is taken off-site and converted into biodiesel for road transport and heat and power systems. 
  • Cardboard from delivery packaging is compacted on site and recycled
  • Glass bottles from the Bar, Events and delivered hospitality is recycled
  • Food Waste from both food production and consumer food waste is collected and converted into agricultural fertilisers.
  • The service actively tries to reduce the use of single use plastics and offer customers incentives for using suitable alternatives (For eg. 10% discount on hot beverages if customers get their own re-usable mug). 
  • We have switched to a more environment friendly range of cleaning products supplied by Innuscience UK.