Catered university halls begin listing carbon footprint of every meal offered

Accommodation at the University of Bristol aims to empower students to make more sustainable choices relating to what they eat. 

Residents living in catered halls of residence at the University will now be given a clear indication of how much breakfast, lunch and dinner cost the environment. 

man in black jacket and pants holding red umbrella walking on sidewalk

Already a world leader in higher education sustainability, with the campus on track to become carbon neutral by 2030 and recently becoming the first in the world to gain Green Labs Certification, the University of Bristol has identified food as a major factor in continued efforts to improve overall environmental footprint. 

Starting from the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year, those living in halls of residence can expect to have the total carbon use of every dish to feature on the menu. Much in the same way as calorie counts have been included for many years. 

The idea began on a trial basis in October 2021, when the University joined forces with Italian charity the Sustainable Restaurant Association, adding carbon counts to restaurant options through an app. Within one week, 100 students were using the scheme at Badock Hall in the North Residential Village, aided by newly appointed sustainability ambassadors. 

“Lasagne has always been very popular with students – in fact, you can never make enough of it. Instead of taking it off the menu because we knew how unpopular that would be, we changed the recipe,’ said Rob Smith, the University’s Senior Chef. ‘It was 80% beef and 20% veg. So, we reduced it to 50/50. Now we’re at 40% beef, 40% veg and 20% lentils and it’s become even more popular. I’d argue it tastes even better.’

‘Mapping our food and drink scope 3 carbon is key to the University’s sustainability agenda,’ added Martin Wiles, Head of Sustainability at the University of Bristol. ‘Caroline and her team are leading the way with this work in the University and in the sector as a whole with incredible focus and enthusiasm.’

In related news, the University of York’s scheme to reduce the use of single-use plastic cups on campus is believed to have saved over 1m vessels from landfill. 

Image credit: Martyna Szwedowska




Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top