THE ACHIEVEMENTS of The University Caterers Organisation members span the entire sustainability spectrum. From reducing waste and promoting healthy eating to better sourcing, investing in local producers’ businesses and supporting global action organisations such as Fairtrade – you name it, TUCO members are doing it! Their successes add up to an incredible compendium of best practice examples; here we take a look at a few initiatives from around the country in 2015.
Over the border, Ayrshire College has been making healthy eating its priority and proved that hard work pays off after retaining the ‘Healthy Living Award’ for an impressive fourth consecutive year.
Four out of five campuses at the College hold the Healthy Living Award – a national award scheme for the food service sector in Scotland, highlighting those organisations making a genuine health impact on their customers’ diets.
The University of Sheffield took the concept of supporting local business to a whole new level, after agreeing a contract with local farm ‘Our Cow Molly’ which will supply all Sheffield’s milk products. This contract has allowed the farm to invest in a new dairy so they can increase outputs from 8,000 to 40,000 litres a week, securing the independent farm’s future.
Harper Adams has had quite the triumphant year so far, taking home two awards in June alone! Having beaten off stiff competition Harper won the prestigious ‘Sustainability in Education’ accolade at the Footprint Awards, picking up the ‘Highest Scoring New-coming’ Hospitality Assured Award just two days later.
At the other end of the country from Ayrshire, the University of Exeter was also focussing on food health and wellbeing as it introduced specialist nutritional information on all menus to help consumers better understand what they are eating.
The University of Cardiff collaborated with local partners to help the city pick up a Sustainable Food Cities bronze award, which recognises work in areas such as promoting healthy food to the public, reducing waste and tackling food poverty. The university itself has a Soil Association Food for Life Catering Mark for its three restaurants at Main Building, Trevithick and the Julian Hodge Building Lounge.
Plymouth University started the year with a bang, topping the annual People and Planet Sustainability Index.
The coastal institution was ranked first out of 151 universities in what is one of the most coveted league tables in the Higher Education sector. Plymouth achieved a 90% rating on sustainable food, as well as a 75% rating for waste and recycling.
In January, St John’s College Cambridge joined the growing ranks of Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) accredited universities. Having gained a two star rating, Catering Manager Bill Brogan said they would be working towards a three-star ranking in 2016 so watch this space!