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Celebrating HE's pioneering sustainable practice

By the Russell Partnership's Professor David Russell and Charlotte Harbour

Posted by Rianna Newman | July 25, 2017 | Sustainability

Throughout the year, we have discussed sustainability within HE from a theoretical perspective and explained the methods or aspirations associated with gold standard sustainable practice. This time, we’d like to take our discussion from theory to application and highlight the practical achievements of the universities pioneering sustainable food and beverage practice.

People & Planet’s annual University League is the leading comprehensive and independent league table of UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance.

It positions universities based on their sustainable attainment across various functional areas including environmental policy, energy sources, water reduction and, of course, sustainable food and beverage – the final score is an amalgamation of these areas.

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) came out on top across all functional areas in 2017 and scored 75% for having a publicly available sustainable food policy, utilising local food and providing space or other resources for student- and staff-led growing schemes or sustainable food projects. NTU offers a comprehensive range of seasonal, local and ethically sourced meals across their catering outlets – some outlets on campus exclusively utilise free-range eggs, quality-assured meat and organic milk.

Although the University of Brighton came second overall, their score pipped NTU within the sustainable food and beverage position, achieving an impressive 90%. Similar to NTU, Brighton attained excellent marks for specifying that contract caterers and suppliers adhere to the requirements of the university sustainable food policy, providing free access to drinking water across the University and utilising local food.

Finally, Manchester Metropolitan University came third overall, and scored 85% on their sustainable catering marks. They have also achieved a two-star ‘Excellent’ rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Sustainability within food and beverage is a fundamental aspect in protecting ecological longevity, economic stability and social prosperity. It is exciting, warming and optimistic to see UK universities driving sustainability within the sector, and promoting a positive environmental message to the student body. As ever, we can debate, discuss and explain concepts and opinions in regards to ecological longevity – but it is institutes catalysing the change and taking action that will truly shape our vibrant, green and environmentally sound future.


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