Our Sustainable Food Journey

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Concern about the twin climate and environmental crisis has grown. dramatically in the past 12 months with high profile protests in the. UK and beyond promoting politicians to make increasingly ambitious. commitments to lower emissions and protect natural habitats. But what practical actions can we undertake to meet this challenge. This report summarises a strikingly effective initiative underway at. the University of Cambridge where catering managers have in a. very short time dramatically reduced the environmental footprint of. their operation Through cutting out ruminant meat which is linked. to vastly greater greenhouse gas emissions and land use than other. protein sources and by greatly improving their offer of vegetarian. and vegan alternatives the University Catering Service has lowered. its land footprint by over a quarter and its carbon footprint by over. one third while simultaneously increasing sales and profit On top. of that they ve lowered food waste and eliminated unsustainably. harvested fish from their menus It is hard to imagine any other. interventions that could yield such dramatic benefits in so short a. span of time There is more to be done further lowering use of. plastic and in particular encouraging take up of these ideas across. Cambridge Colleges which are not part of the UCS and the wider. university sector This report demonstrates how achievable. environmentally effective and professionally rewarding these. bold actions can be,Andrew Balmford,Professor of Conservation Science. The University Catering Service A sustainable food service. The University Catering Service UCS is the University of Cambridge s in house catering service. It manages fourteen caf s and canteens throughout the city and caters for over 1 500 events a year. The UCS has a long standing commitment to good sustainability practices a number of initiatives have been introduced in recent years to improve. environmental performance from the roll out of Vegware compostable packaging and disposables to the introduction of KeepCup discounts. and the recycling of cooking oil,I knew that we should be doing more to. actively promote the consumption of more,sustainable food to reduce our damage to. the environment and to help encourage,positive lifestyle changes which would lead. to a positive impact on health and well being,of our students and staff For us it was about.
making the right choice easy for our customers,I felt a big responsibility to do something. about it I knew it was down to me to start,our journey. Nick White Head of Operations UCS,Figure 1 The UCS team and chefs. What happened, With limited time and resources to dedicate to sustainability initiatives. Nick White was keen to ensure that the UCS focused on the areas with the. biggest impact To do this Nick sought advice from researchers within the. University itself Andrew Balmford suggested four areas where the UCS. could change without compromising on cost, 1 Reducing the consumption of meat in particular ruminant meat.
2 Improving and increasing the availability of plant based options. 3 Removing unsustainable fish from the menu,4 Reducing food waste. The UCS implemented these changes in October 2016 with help from the. University s Environment and Energy section To formalise their approach. they worked together to develop a Sustainable Food Policy with the above. four aims forming the central theme See the Sustainable Food Policy here. www environment admin cam ac uk sustainable food university. cambridges sustainable food policy, Securing support from catering service staff was key to making these. changes Staff were briefed on the environmental benefits of the Sustainable. Food Policy and why the UCS wanted to implement it As cooking with Figure 2 Chefs on one of their vegan cookery classes. meat is a key part of most chef s training the UCS provided chefs with vegan. cookery classes and a trip to Borough Market to get inspiration for plant based The Environment and Energy section is thrilled to have worked. menus Meanwhile caf managers were given training on marketing for in partnership with the University Catering Service and academics. sustainability rather than profit across the University to enhance its sustainability performance. The Sustainable Food Policy was widely supported by customers on food in such a practical way The success of the policy both. However key to the Policy s success was that the customer didn t have to in reducing carbon emissions and spreading the word about. change their behaviour in order to eat more sustainably as most changes sustainable food is something which we can be proud of. happened before the food reached the customers hands The UCS now sells Joanna Chamberlain Head of Environment and Energy section. more sustainable plant based food and as a bonus they retain the same. level of footfall but a 2 increase in gross profit was achieved in 2017 2018. compared to 2014 2015 despite increases in food costs. The UCS also decided to stop selling single use plastic bottles and have replaced. these with glass bottles cans or bio degradable plastic bottles This has led. to saving over 30 000 plastic bottles from landfill per year. A few of UCS favourite plant based meals, Swedish style vegballs with mash and creamy mustard sauce. Smoky Moroccan chickpea stew with saffron infused couscous. Baked aubergine with lemon infused couscous,Sweet potato burger. Vegan stir fry,Our Sustainable Food Journey 3,Food for Thought the main features.
of the Sustainable Food Policy, 1 Reduce the consumption of meat in particular ruminant meat. ck account 40 of livestock,The livestock sector accounts for 14 of global. greenhouse gas emissions1,sto s greenhouse, The production of ruminant meat beef and lamb demands. gas emissions, come from methane more feed and water than other livestock as they have relatively. inefficient ruminant stomachs Ruminant stomachs also. produce methane during digestion accounting for around. 40 of livestock greenhouse gas emissions Methane has a. enh g stronger warming effect than carbon dioxide1. Switching from ruminant to,non ruminant meats reduces.
greenhouse gas emissions by, Switching your diet to non ruminant meats results 85 60. less water,in emitting 85 less greenhouse gases and using. 60 less water and 85 less farmland2,These figures increase to 95 85 and 95. respectively when removing meat altogether2,While dairy produces less emissions than meat. less farmlan,production it is still reliant on the rearing of.
an animal Plant based proteins require less,resources than dairy3. 2 Promoting the consumption 3 Ensure that no fish from the Marine Conservation. of plant based food Society MCS fish to avoid list is served. roducing beef and lamb emits 6 times more greenhouse gas per Using sustainable fish is vital The UN s Food and Agriculture. gram of protein than pork or poultry and 250 times more than legumes Organisation estimates that 31 of monitored fish stocks are already. lentils chickpeas beans 4 One beef or lamb meal has the same footprint being over exploited while another 50 are fully exploited5. as eight months of chickpea based meals Fish sustainability is difficult to guarantee as guidance changes frequently. Plant based foods require less water and land than livestock The UCS decided to reduce fish sales to white sustainable fish as part of Fish. Fridays in the Main Dining Hall West Caf and Maths Caf Other caf s sell. The UCS uses choice architecture to encourage customers to select. pole and line caught tuna with sandwiches or jacket potatoes. plant based meals For example increasing the proportion of plant based. options available positioning the plant based option first or at eye level. and reducing the cost They believe in making the right choice easy for. 4 Reducing food waste and other waste, their customers The UCS uses compostable disposables which are sent to anaerobic. digestion This has prevented over 2 5 million pieces of single use. The Cambridge Sustainable Food Policy is such an inspiring plastic going to landfill. and practical document with the focus on the right things Around one third of food in the world is wasted every year with higher. I am particularly pleased to see the focus on reducing dairy rates in developed countries Food is most often wasted at the end of the. as well as meat and the approach to fish procurement supply chain where the disposal of edible food is driven by excessive. Emma Garnett PhD Student portion sizes wasteful sales practices and unnecessary aesthetic standards. For more changes that the University have made and the science behind it visit. www environment admin cam ac uk sustainable food, FAO Tackling Climate through Livestock A Global Assessment of Emissions and Mitigation Opportunities 2013. J Ranganathan et al 2016 Shifting diets for a sustainable food future Working paper Installment 11 of Creating a Sustainable Food Future World Resources Institute Washington D C United States. J Poore and T Nemecek 2018 Reducing food s environmental impacts through producers and consumers Science 360 6392 987 992. D Tilman and M Clark 2014 Global diets link environmental sustainability and human health doi 10 1038 nature13959. FAO The State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2016 Contributing to food security and nutrition for all 2016. 4 Our Sustainable Food Journey,The Taste of Success The impact. of our Sustainable Food Policy, The Sustainable Food Policy was reviewed in October 2018 by academics in the Departments of.
Geography and Zoology CISL and the Behaviour and Health Research Unit Food purchased by. the UCS in two periods March to May 2015 pre policy and March to May 2018 post policy. was compared and the associated carbon emissions calculated. 1 Reducing the consumption of meat in particular ruminant meat. Implementing the Sustainable Food Policy has reduced Carbon emissions were reduced by 10 5 between 2015 and 2018 despite an increase. the UCS s emissions by 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide each in volume of food purchased When standardised there was a 33 reduction in carbon. year Figure 3 That s equivalent to driving 1 2 million miles emissions per kilogram of food purchased and a 28 reduction in land use per kilogram. or around the equator over 94 times of food purchased Table 1. March May March May,Overall Carbon Footprint,Carbon footprint per year tonnes CO2 e. of Food tonnes,287 257 10 5,1000 Overall Land Use of food. m per year,434 102 414 107 5,Kg CO2 per kg food,4 78 3 22 33. Land Use per kg food,7 22 5 18 28,Total food purchased kgs 60107 79863. Without Policy With Policy, Figure 3 Projections of carbon footprint per year shown in tonnes Table 1 Overall carbon footprint and land use of food proportional carbon footprint and land use per kg.
comparing with and without the policy implementation food purchased and the total amount of food purchased during two different time intervals. Our Sustainable Food Journey 5, 2 Improving and increasing the availability Ruminant meat has largely been replaced with plant based options but. pork usage has also increased Pork has a greater environmental impact. of plant based options than plant based proteins but lower carbon emissions than beef or. More fruit vegetables and pulses have been purchased post policy lamb The total weight of meat purchased has declined Figure 5. which reflects UCS efforts to promote plant based meals6 Figure 4. Tonnes purchased per month,Tonnes purchased per month. Fruit Veg Pulses Ruminant meat Pork Poultry, A Pre policy 2015 B Post policy 2018 A Pre policy 2015 B Post policy 2018. Figure 4 Tonnes of fruit and veg and pulses purchased per month Figure 5 Tonnes of meat types purchased per month. both pre and post policy implementation both pre and post policy implementation. D Tilman and M Clark 2014 Global diets link environmental sustainability and human health Nature 515 518 522. 6 Our Sustainable Food Journey,3 emoving unsustainable. fish from the menu, The UCS procures no fish that are on the Marine Conservation.
Society fish to avoid list Since the test period of Mar May 2018 the. University has continued to reduce its use of fish which is now. almost entirely limited to white fish served in Fish Fridays at the. University Centre and West Caf and tuna in sandwiches and. baked potatoes at all outlets,4 Reducing food waste. The University began collections of food waste in August 2016 which There has been an increase in food waste collections as more sites and. approximately coincided with the start of the University s Sustainable Food departments have instigated collections collections have trebled for. Policy Data is available from August 2017 March 2019 which shows that non UCS sites Food waste collections from UCS have dropped slightly. 163 tonnes of food waste was collected from around the University during over the period with the most recent 9 months showing a 6 reduction. this period of which 60 98 tonnes was collected from University caf s compared to the first 9 months. Food waste kilograms,UCS outlets Oher sites, Figure 6 Kilograms of food waste collected per month. Our Sustainable Food Journey 7, The UCS is also reducing its use of single use disposables. A 25p charge has been introduced for using a disposable cup. changed from a discount for bringing a reusable cup The earlier discount. Society MCS fish to avoid list is served Using sustainable fish is vital The UN s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that 31 of monitored fish stocks are already being over exploited while another 50 are fully exploited 5 Fish sustainability is difficult to guarantee as guidance changes frequently The UCS decided to reduce fish sales to white sustainable fish

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