Sustainability

UCL is a world-leading sustainable institution, and this extends to its relationship with us, CH&Co. We are a contract caterer and we work in partnership with UCL to deliver an ambitiously sustainable catering service across campus including our coffee shops, refectories, shops and events.

We are committed to UCL’s Sustainability Strategy and its key campaigns. We use this to guide our sustainability efforts, in combination with the Healthy and Sustainable Food Policy.

Here’s what we’re doing to contribute to a healthy planet:


Positive Climate

#ClimatePositive

How do you know if your lunch is sustainable? We’ll be making sustainable eating easy by providing loads of delicious climate-friendly veggie and vegan meals, educating through easy-to-understand labels on dishes, and providing high-quality, tasty food for events which just happens to be veggie & vegan.  

Our Delicious Dishes

Veggie and vegan food is at the heart of what we do. We promise that at least half of our food on campus will always be vegetarian or vegan and it will often exceed that. This means that whatever outlet you go to on campus you will always have choice when it comes to what you want to eat.

In general, dishes which feature lots of fruit, veg or grains have lower carbon footprints than dishes which use meat and dairy.

Carbon Labelling

We’re working with Foodsteps to display the climate impact of many of our dishes to you. This will make it easier for you to choose planet-positive choices and learn about the relative impact of food choices.

Food accounts for about a quarter of all global emissions. Without widespread dietary shifts it will be very difficult to reach global climate targets. By providing climate impact labelling we’re making it easier for you to understand how your diet contributes to your individual footprint and alter your habits if you’d like to.

Find out more information about how Foodsteps calculate the labels here (it’s more than just carbon).

Look out for the labels and posters around campus and make sure you scan the QR codes for more information.

Powered By Plants

We’re championing the Powered By Plants initiative started by departments within the university. This means all our catering for events will be vegetarian and vegan as standard, with meat dishes still available on request.

By switching the narrative to vegan and vegetarian food as the norm we’re expecting to make substantial carbon savings. This is not a ban on meat at events – it is a celebration of delicious, high-quality vegan and vegetarian food at scale with a strong positive impact on the climate.

To talk to us about catering for events and meetings please refer to our hospitality page. Any questions about our decision to go #PoweredByPlants can be directed to Rosie.RaynerLaw@chandcogroup.com.


THE LOOP

#TheLoop

Food Waste

We’re taking food waste seriously and doing our best to minimise it in our kitchens using a combination of technology (with our Winnow systems) and good old-fashioned chef knowledge. We’re also running information campaigns in our residencies to encourage responsible consumption.  

Food waste is a hefty contributor to climate change; if it were a country it would be the 3rd largest emitter in the world. Although the majority of food waste in this country comes from homes, it’s important for us to minimise our waste and to educate our staff and the wider UCL community about the effects of throwing food away.

We are also investigating ways to redistribute food that would otherwise be wasted – watch this space for further information on Too Good to Go on campus.

CLUBZERO

CLUBZERO is a zero-waste cup deposit scheme operating across the wider King’s Cross area. We’ll be participating across our Bloomsbury campus in our café outlets to let you drink coffee on campus with the ease of a disposable cup, but without wasting anything.

Go to CLUBZERO or search for it in the app store to download the app so you’re ready to take part when you buy your coffee or tea. Then all you need to do it ask to use a reusable cup and show the barista your unique CLUBZERO ID on your phone.  Once you’ve finished your drink, return your cup to one of the bright yellow cases in our cafés, where it’ll be returned to be washed, and the cycle continues.

Please make sure you return your cup or you’ll be charged £5.

Plastic Reduction

We’re part of the university’s push to be a single-use plastic free campus by 2024. Single-use plastic is a big problem for people working in food service, but we’re doing our best to reduce it everywhere we can.

To do this we don’t sell plastic water bottles or plastic sachets of sauce. We’re looking at how we reduce our confectionary that comes in plastic and how we can operate zero-plastic snacking options across campus. Our pre-packaged sandwiches that comes in ‘wedges’ use completely plastic-free packaging.

In our kitchens we’ve radically reduced the amount of cling-film we use, replacing it with Tupperware boxes and reusing the packaging our food comes in. We’ll be using plastic gloves when they’re necessary.

The efforts of all of us to reduce single-use plastic will have a positive effect – less items will be produced and as a consequence less items will be wasted, meaning less carbon put into the atmosphere producing them and less carbon produced from their incineration.


AWARDS

Ethical Procurement

We work hard to make sure the food we're buying meets ethical and sustainability accredition criteria to ensure we're not doing more harm than good.

This means;

  • Our meat is Red Tractor
  • Our fish is MCS accredited or is MSC Green Rated 
  • Our eggs are free-range

We also prioritise purchasing UK based brands which have sustainability commitments. For more information about sustainable food at UCL and to see our Healthy and Sustainable Food Policy, visit the UCL food website.


CERTIFICATIONS

Fairtrade 

  • University College London is a one star Fairtrade University

  • All coffee served in our retail outlets across all campuses is Fairtrade

  • We also supply Fairtrade tea, hot chocolate and sugar

  • All our bananas are Fairtrade

  • A selection of Fairtrade chocolate is available from our outlets


Life water making a Difference

Life Water bought on campus funds drinking water wells in area’s of the world that would otherwise have no access. Through partnering with Life Water and drop4drop, Gather & Gather have funded the construction of 20 clear water projects, changing the lives of over 18,000 people. Having a clean provision of water now means that the communities no longer have to face the threat of water-borne illnesses and can focus on their livelihoods, education and family life.  

As part of its commitment to using sustainable and Fairtrade food, Food at UCL pledged to sell at least one charitable water across the University’s campuses. For every bottle of Life Water sold, the ethical bottled water company, via their partner charity Drop4Drop, funds the delivery of 1000 litres of clean drinking water to communities in need around the world.

To find out more visit: www.life-water.co.uk/gatherandgather

Life Water Wells