Sustainability in catering
We are committed to improving sustainability in catering. In addition to the University’s requirements in the Sustainable Food Policy, there is also a growing movement from students and staff to become more sustainable across the University
We believe that combining the various catering operations has produced an excellent opportunity for the University to take appropriate action and responsibility for this issue. In fact, sustainability in catering was one of the key objectives in establishing our catering agreement, accounting for 15% of the overall contract tender.
We therefore work closely with stakeholders from across the University including the Sustainability Steering Group, the Environmental Sustainability team and Student Union to drive change. We are continuously exploring commercially viable ways to achieve increased sustainability and standards in both the ‘Beyond Ordinary Cafes’ and hospitality service managed by Compass, which accounts for around 75% of the University's food services. In 2019, all cafes received 4 and 5* on Oxford City Councils Scores on the Doors – a national UK food hygiene inspection.
Cutting down on waste, using local suppliers, promoting vegetarianism/veganism and reducing our use of single-use plastic are just some of the ways we are promoting and improving sustainability in catering across the University.
Better for us and better for the planet!
What we are doing
With 8,000 member sites in the UK, the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) aim to assess the sustainability of every part of a food service business. They have awarded our ‘Occasions’ hospitality operations the highest possible level - three stars - and all ‘Beyond Ordinary cafe’ operations have been awarded two out of a possible three stars. The accreditation assesses a number of key areas including where food is sourced from, our impact on society and how we can improve our environmental footprint by using less energy, reducing food waste and recycling. A detailed report has been produced for every café which celebrates the good work which has been done and provides a useful benchmark for further improvements. While formally re-assessed every two years, we will being reviewing progress annually.
Refill Oxford is part of City to Sea’s national campaign to promote the use of free tap water to reduce plastic waste. Refill Oxford has been introduced into all visitor facing cafes and the University Club. This is one of the Good Food Oxford initiatives, reducing single use plastics.
Visit Refill Oxford
Too Good To Go is a sustainable app which Compass at the University have joined. The app lets you buy and collect fresh food from the cafes that hasn’t sold in time - at a great, reduced price - so it gets eaten instead of wasted. A brilliant way to pick up something on your way home!
Visit Too Good To Go
Good Food Oxford Limited is the local ‘Good Food’ campaign. There are a series of cities across the UK engaging with communities around good food habits, this helps the University support local communities.
From the University this is attended by the Head of Environmental Sustainability, Bart Ashton from Lady Margaret Hall and Veryan Palmer, Head of Operations, Compass Group.
Visit Good Food Oxford Limited
Sugar Smart Oxford is a campaign run by Sustain. They support local authorities, organisations, workplaces and individuals to reduce the amount of sugar consumed. Compass at Oxford University have implemented a traffic light system for drinks in association with Sugar Smart, leading to a first ‘golden teaspoon’ at the University Club in April 2019 following an inspection. The campaign has now been launched across all Compass cafes.