University caterers tuck in to new sustainability scheme
University food and drink is set to become more sustainable after the announcement of a new sector-backed sustainability partnership.
The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) has announced today (20 July) it will build on its partnership with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) to launch a new programme to enable UK universities and colleges to feed sustainability into their catering services.
The SRA will provide ratings to universities based on the source of their foods as well as monitoring the energy, waste and water efficiency of cafes and restaurants on campus.
In July 2014, TUCO and the SRA announced they would work together to develop a University and College Catering Programme in a bid to improve the sustainability of university food.
TUCO chief operating officer Mike Haslin announced the new plans at the organisation’s annual conference in London.
“Sustainability remains a hugely important issue for our members, and indeed the wider catering community,” said Haslin. “As an organisation we strive to lead the way on finding innovative solutions to the wider challenges – our partnership with the SRA is a key part of this programme.
“It is important to recognise that the challenges faced by the higher education sector in meeting sustainability targets are entirely unique.
“In developing this unique accreditation model with the SRA we are helping to ensure there is a level playing field for higher education caterers which will not only support those looking to grow their CSR policies but highlight those already doing great work.”
The rating system was developed with support from Plymouth University and the University of Brighton, with 18 further universities and colleges joining the SRA in the last year. The SRA rating system uses a three-star scale to rate universities considered to be ‘sustainability champions’.
SRA managing director Mark Linehan said: “We believed that our programme would be well received by universities and colleges because it provides them not just with a holistic assessment of their whole operation, but also with dedicated ongoing support through our team of experts, to help them go further and do more.”