Environmental responsibility top of the agenda

Schools and Universities are tasked with demonstrating their commitment to the wellbeing of their students and the environment

With greater financial pressures – such as the hike in tuition fees at universities – and increasingly rigorous measurement of green credentials, educational establishments are under scrutiny. A comprehensive and sustainable approach to drinking water is one vital aspect of achieving this goal.  

So what are students, and indeed staff, looking for? They want drinking water which is fast, easily accessible, of optimum temperature and taste as well as hygienic. Vivreau is a global leader in the development and manufacture of purified drinking water systems. Its products Vi tap and Vi tap Plus are ideal products for self-service situations, whether they are located throughout busy school and university corridors, in cafes for students, staff and visitors alike, or in the confines of the staff room. 

The Vi tap and Vi tap Plus dispense mains-fed purified chilled still, sparkling and boiling hot water from one single tap with a touch sensor control and zero splash – but clients don’t have to choose all three. What sets the Vi tap Plus apart from the shorter Vi tap version is that Vivreau’s reusable designer glass bottles can be slotted underneath the tap. These can be used to serve water and can be branded with a company logo, as well as an environmental message which reinforces CSR credentials.   

When students are well hydrated, it invariably leads to improved academic performance. The provision of instant chilled stilled and sparkling water, which tastes great, will undoubtedly encourage students to drink more. Hydration leads to improved brain function, which in turn leads to the kinds of grades which pupils can be proud of. 

Of course, self-service is only one dimension of a drinking water strategy. Meetings and conferences are a crucial way of positioning schools and universities in a positive light to those externally as well as those studying or working at the facility. Step forward Vivreau’s Table Water Bottling System for meeting and conference facilities. The mains-fed Table Water Bottling System dispenses unlimited quantities of purified filtered chilled still and sparkling water that, again, can be served in branded reusable designer glass bottles.

Schools and universities are under pressure to be more environmentally friendly and have less plastic on campus. The University of Indonesia compiles a GreenMetric Ranking of World Universities encompassing 62 categories, including transport, energy and climate change, waste management and education about green issues. This can implicate those universities shirking environmental responsibility. There is also a UK ‘green league’ of universities compiled by People & Planet – although nearly half of universities have chosen to boycott this.   

The Department of Accommodation and Commercial Services (ACS) at the University of Sheffield is a Vivreau client. Jacqui Cameron, Head of Marketing, explains: “As part of our brand values, we’re committed to using local, ethically sourced and environmentally friendly products wherever possible. Using Vivreau table water meant that we didn’t have to transport pre-bottled mineral water which has helped us reduce our carbon footprint.

“The water is purified on site, so we’ve not compromised on quality and, because the bottles are reusable, there’s no waste and no need to recycle.”

Deborah Tilbrook, Events Operations, Manager for ACS adds: “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Vivreau to others; it has a positive impact for us, our customers and the environment.” 

At Leeds Metropolitan University, Vivreau has helped with the job of ensuring that the high standards of the venues are matched by the equipment within. Conference Manager Jeremy Bradshaw has to 

constantly evaluate the offering to ensure it matches the high standards expected by the delegates: “As a Meetings Industry Association Member, we were working hard to be the first university in the country to be awarded gold status, and whilst there were many aspects required to make this happen, part of the accreditation related specifically to the sustainability of the site.

“We get thousands of delegates through our doors every year and the one thing that you want them to go away with is the quality that they have just experienced. The branded bottles are a constant reminder of where they have been and who has looked after their every need throughout the day. The Vivreau Table Water Bottling System has transformed the way we use water within the University. It is very simple to use, produces deliciously fresh, chilled still and sparkling water, and the bottles look fantastic within the conferencing areas of the University.

“Vivreau has helped to improve our sustainable credentials, making us a gold Meetings Industry Association member. I would have no hesitation in recommending a Vivreau Table Water Bottling System to other universities.” 

Taste Manchester similarly looked to Vivreau for help in meeting changing expectations. It is responsible for the University of Manchester’s delivered hospitality service, offering refreshments, snacks, lunches, buffets, dinners and much more to any location around campus and City Centre Manchester.

Jonathan Minshull, Head of Catering Operations for Taste Manchester decided to invest in a Vivreau Table Water Bottling System and reusable designer glass bottles for its conference facilities and a Vi tap in its new café area, Vasaio. Jonathan explains: “We were impressed with the look of the Table Water Bottling System and the Vi tap. Initially we ordered one bottling system in University Place, which is our main conference venue. We then decided to put the Vi tap in a new dedicated café area, Vasaio, for students and staff to have the benefit of a fresh filtered water system on tap.”

The University of Manchester has a very strong environmental policy, with an aim to reduce the amount of plastic on site. Installing Vivreau products has helped the University achieve this aim. Jonathan continues: “From a sustainability point of view, we’ve reduced the amount of plastic bottles that we have delivered on campus. Our deliveries, storage and recycling have all improved as a result of installing the Vivreau systems.

“The expectation of conference delegates has increased and they now expect to be offered filtered water. Being able to offer the Table Water Bottling System as part of our conference package has been a big plus for us. We have also improved the offer for our conference delegates, as the system looks more professional than the plastic bottles that we previously offered.”

Regarding the Vi tap in the new Vasaio café area, Jonathan explains: “The Vi tap is located in an open area with a daily footfall of around 3,000. We previously offered tap water; the Vi tap is now offered as self-service for students to be able to fill up their water bottles with chilled filtered water. It’s always working and accessible, it’s now an expectation that filtered water is on tap!”

The 2016/17 academic year provides both challenges and opportunities. Schools and universities have the chance to become beacons of environmental responsibility and set themselves apart from their competitors. 

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