The University of Cambridge has recently released a Sustainable Food Policy. The policy outlines the University’s aims to minimise the impact of its catering operations on the environment, and to promote sustainable food consumption and practices.
The aims of the policy are as follows:
- Reduce the consumption of meat, in particular ruminant meat (e.g. beef and lamb)
- Promote the consumption of more vegetarian and vegan foods
- Ensure that no fish from the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) ‘Fish to Avoid’ list is served, and seek Marine Stewardship Council certification
- Reduce food waste (and other waste, for example through continuing to offer a discount scheme on all hot drinks for those who use KeepCups)
- Source food and other products locally where possible
- Use Fairtrade products and support Fairtrade initiatives
- Ensure that animal welfare standards are adhered to and insist on Red Tractor Assured standards as minimum for milk and dairy products
- Communicate to customers, staff and suppliers their commitment to serving sustainable food (and improve customer recognition of sustainable food choices, through posters and symbols on menus)
The University is also adopting other methods of trying to encourage sustainable food consumption, besides simply raising awareness. They are adopting ideas from psychology, for instance using ‘nudge theory’ and ‘choice architecture’ techniques, such as increasing accessibility and desirability of more sustainable options. It is hoped that this may contribute to minimising the ‘value-action’ gap.
It is important to note that the policy does not apply to the Colleges of the University; it only applies to the catering outlets in departments of the University run by the University Catering Service. There are plans to engage with colleges and with other departments doing their own catering, to encourage further uptake of the aims in this policy.
For a more detailed outline of the objectives, you can read the policy here.