Our Ethical & Environmental Commitments

As a civic institution, The University of Sheffield recognises the role we play locally, nationally and internationally. Throughout our catering, event and hospitality services we are committed to high standards of ethical and environmental practices – through using our power of procurement to support the local economy, through to minimising supply chains and leveraging the power of the University to positively impact the communities where we source our products.

Think local, act global

It’s important to us that as many of our ingredients as possible are ethically sourced. Wherever possible we work with local suppliers from butchers to greengrocers, from dairy farms to coffee roasters. Using local produce not only ensures that our customers get the freshest products possible – for instance, our milk comes from cow to coffee in as little as three hours courtesy of Our Cow Molly, but reduces delivery emissions and creates jobs in the local area.

Where sourcing local isn’t possible, we aim to minimise the supply chain as much as possible. Our local coffee roasters Roastology, source their coffee direct-trade from the CENCOIC co-operative in the Cauca region of Colombia. Sourcing direct trade ensures that our suppliers are paid the highest amount possible for their crops. We are currently working with the co-operative, Roastology and researchers from The University of Sheffield on collaborative problem solving to support the development of the co-operative.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

We use the waste hierarchy framework to evaluate our processes and practices across all areas of our business – where possible we have made reductions in waste creation, switched to reusable containers and as a last resort ensured that our products are recyclable. 

As part of waste reduction, we work in collaboration with students at the University, supporting the Save our Sandwiches. Their mission is to reduce food waste and simultaneously support vulnerable people in Sheffield by redistributing any surplus food from University events and meetings to homeless charities to help those in need. Other initiatives to tackle food waste include the launch of community fridges in Endcliffe & Ranmoor where unused food is placed into the fridges and is freely available for students and members of the community to help themselves to. In the first three months of the fridge’s availability we saved over five tonnes of food which would have otherwise been discarded.

The impact of single use coffee cups on the environment is well documented. We have undertaken a number of initiatives in order to minimise our single cup waste – from financial incentives for bringing your own container to trialling a coffee cup return scheme across campus and placing crockery into over 95% of our outlets. Currently we are on track to reduce the number of single use cups on campus by over 100,000 this academic year.

Our path to carbon neutrality

We now have two electric delivery vehicles, with plans to convert our entire fleet within the next few years. We always aim to keep deliveries to a minimum and use a vehicle tracking system to ensure our delivery schedule is as eco-friendly as possible.  For smaller deliveries, we transport freshly made products across campus to nearly twenty venues every single day via pedal power on our cargo trikes.