Food has an integral link to global greenhouse gas emissions and forms an important limb for climate action.
While the estimated impact of food on the total emissions of the university remains relatively limited, it cannot be neglected. Moreover, changing the food policy at campus has the potential of changing eating habits outside the university as well. In order to reduce its food-related emissions, the university can make its intention explicit to promote food options that are locally produced, seasonal, and plant-based, while at the same time reducing food waste and packaging.
The current catering and restaurant services at the university, komida and Agora Caffee, are already paying attention to the climate and environmental impacts of the food they offer. At the same time, both partners identify financial, regulatory, and competitive obstacles in order to become fully climate-friendly. Hence, top-down investments, working on the supply as well as on the demand side, along with gradual changes assisted by awareness campaigns and a good collaboration with other stakeholders will be key. The university can play a lead role by assisting the partners and facilitate this transition in the best way possible.
A climate-proof food provision and consumption at the university by 2030.
Priority action points
- Measure the ecological impact of food and communicate this transparently.
The climate and environmental impact of recipes and ingredients should be assessed through an impact test that measures compliance with goals 1 and 2, with additional attention paid to nutritious and healthy food. Recipes that do not stand the overall test require adaptations. The footprint of every meal can be communicated transparently by making use of labels.
- Prioritize the low-impact food at Agora Caffee and komida: local, seasonal and organic supply.
The university stimulates the use of certified labels, collaborations with local farmers and initiatives of growing own vegetables.
- Replace or reduce animal products as much as possible both by increasing the plant-based offer and by stimulating the demand for these.
- The number of vegetarian and vegan menu options can be increased substantially.
- Vegetarian and vegan can be made the default option when ordering catering while fish and meat remain available when asked for specifically.
- The aim is to phase out the offer of red and processed meat, and to serve smaller portions of (poultry & porc) meat and (non-carnivorous) fish from labelled sustainable sources.
- At the same time, informative and awareness raising campaigns and (financial and non-financial rewarding) actions continue to promote plant-based dishes and make sustainable choices, more feasible, attractive and acceptable for students and personnel.
- Combat food waste and packaging through adequate measuring of waste, serving smaller portions, using leftovers (e.g. ‘too good to go’ app), composting and awareness campaigns. For more tips on non-food waste: see chapter ‘Waste’.