Catering Mark helps University of Greenwich to highest ever Green League score
30 May 2012
The University of Greenwich, which has been awarded the Soil Association's bronze Food for Life Catering Mark across all of its catering services, has become the newest name at the top of The People and Planet Green League. Awarded 55 out of a possible 70 points, Greenwich received the highest ever Green League score, bolstered by a top score for sustainable food.
The 2012 Green League assessed 145 universities against 13 criteria designed to measure their environmental and ethical commitments and performance compared with other universities. The Sustainable Food criteria - now in its third year - revealed clear improvements across the board and represented one of the biggest areas of progress across the sector.
Universities gained points in the Green League sustainable food category for achieving the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark. Of the top five universities in this year’s league, three of them have achieved the Food for Life Catering Mark. A total of 46 universities achieved ‘Firsts’ this year, compared with 31 last year.
Greenwich was recognised for its commitment to serving only free range eggs and only using organic milk – something which will take it much closer to the silver Catering Mark, which it hopes to achieve in the near future. Chris Powner, University of Greenwich Director of Facilities Management said “achieving the bronze Food for Life Catering Mark has provided us with a really useful framework to guide the development of our catering services, alongside our contract caterers ABM. It’s great to be recognised for all of the hard work and investment by staff and students towards making Greenwich a more sustainable University."
Some key findings from the Sustainable Food criteria this year were:
- 40% of sector now have publicly-available Sustainable Food policies (up from 34% in 2011)
- 53% of the sector now only purchasing free-range eggs (up from 47% in 2011)
- 40% of the sector sourcing only sustainable fish
Rob Sexton, Chief Executive of Soil Association Certification said "what we eat accounts for up to 30 per cent of our individual carbon footprint so we're delighted to see the issue of food gaining increased recognition in the Green League. The league recognises the Soil Association's Food for Life Catering Mark as a unique guarantee that a university is moving towards serving more sustainable menus.”
Food for Life Catering Mark menu criteria include:
- Meals contain no undesirable food additives or hydrogenated fats
- 75% of dishes are freshly prepared
- Meat is from farms which satisfy UK welfare standards
- Eggs are from cage-free hens
- Menus are seasonal
- Training is provided for all catering staff
- No GM ingredients are used
- Free drinking water is prominently available
- No endangered fish are served
- Information is on display about food provenance
Silver and gold
The silver and gold Catering Mark standards are assessed on a points system. Food providers are rewarded for every percentage point of their ingredient spend on items including organic and free range animal products, locally sourced ingredients and steps to offer healthier menus. The points system maintains rigorous principles for environmentally friendly, local and healthy food, yet offers flexibility to recognise food providers’ different strengths and priorities. Silver and gold Catering Mark holders must also meet the bronze standards.
What's your experience of the food at your University? Check out Amy Leech's blog: Will your university’s food take you to the top of the table?