Fairtrade 2018

The University of Exeter is proud to be a Fairtrade University.

SRA 2 star logo

The University Catering and Retail Services team achieved a 2 star rating with the Sustainable Restaurant Association in 2019.

Sustainable food and drink

The University recognises its social and environmental responsibility. As such, we have worked closely with suppliers to minimise the environmental and social impacts associated with the products and services provided. A Sustainable Food Policy has also been adopted to provide guidance in meeting these aims. The main objectives of the Sustainable Food Policy are to ensure that where possible, all fresh produce is sourced from local suppliers, that packaging is environmentally-friendly, and that food is ethically sourced.

In 2019, the University Catering and Retail Services team scored 77% in the reduce, reuse and recycle criteria of the Sustainable Restaurant Association accreditation.

As a large organisation, we also have the opportunity to influence our suppliers to improve their sourcing and practices for more environmentally-friendly and ethical produce. All of our key suppliers report to us quarterly on environmental initiatives and standards being delivered by their companies, and if applicable key performance indicators (KPIs) are developed to measure progress with regard to sustainability. We have liaised with our suppliers to increase environmental performance in the following ways:

  • Local meat and poultry suppliers have adopted a Government Scheme for Safe Driving (SAFED), saving 10-20 per cent fuel / transport costs.
  • Local poultry supplier was influenced to install wind turbines and PV tubes that supply power to their premises.
  • Sustainability/environmental awareness is a standard agenda item when meeting with supplier with achievements reviewed in areas such as recycling, energy saving/CO2 reduction.
  • Local fruit and vegetable supplier developed a website promoting seasonal local produce.
  • Our local sandwich supplier is committed to sourcing more of their ingredients locally.

Retail and Catering Environmental Commitments

The Retail and Catering Team at the University have made the following environmental commitments:

Find out more on the University Eat & Shop Sustainability pages.

Sourcing from local and sustainably committed suppliers can reduce the environmental impact of food products, particularly due to the reduction in carbon emissions associated with transportation. It also means that we can support local businesses and the UK farming industry.  The University of Exeter recognises its responsibility to carry out its procurement activities in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. We also strive to ensure that local and smaller suppliers are not discriminated against in the procurement process and specifications.

In 2019, the University Catering and Retail Services team scored 71% in celebrating local and seasonal as part of the Sustainable Restaurant Association star rating.

The Sustainable Food Policy ensures that:

  • All fresh poultry products, including meat and eggs, are sourced from the South West.
  • 90% of fresh meat products are sourced from the South West and from Devon where possible.
  • All milk is sourced from the South West.

Find out more about the suppliers we work with on the University Eat & Shop Sustainability pages.

What is Fairtrade?

Fairtrade aims to offer a minimum price, better working conditions, and fair terms of trade for both farmers and labourers. Buying Fairtrade products ensures that farmers receive a fair price for their food and guarantees decent wages and working conditions for workers. On top of that, products must also meet environmental standards, being kind to the planet not just its people.

Fairtrade within the University of Exeter

All coffee, tea and hot chocolate is 100% Fairtrade in University outlets, plus our local fruit and vegetable supplier stocks Fairtrade bananas at the same price as non-Fairtrade. We also have a range of Fairtrade confectionery, chocolate bars, muesli bars, muffins, flapjacks, fruit juices, smoothies, jewellery and wine. In addition, the Students' Guild sell a range of branded clothing (hoodies, T-shirts and sportswear) which are made from Fairtrade cotton.

In 2019, the University Catering and Retail Services team scored 73% in supporting global farmers as part of the Sustainable Restaurant Association star rating.

Fairtrade Policy at the University of Exeter

Read the University's Fairtrade Policy to find out more about the commitment of the organisation.

Fairtrade Fortnight

Each year people from across the globe celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight to promote the work of the organisation and celebrate Fairtrade products. The University runs various events and offers throughout the fortnight which usually takes place in February. Keep an eye on the Eat & Shop Facebook Page for details.


The University is committed to ensuring all animal-derived products are purchased from suppliers with ethical practices. In line with the Sustainable Food Policy‌, all meat, poultry and milk on campus is sourced from Red Tractor Assured farms. This means that the meat sold by University venues has been certified as meeting certain safety, hygiene, animal welfare and environmental standards.

In addition to this, all fish and seafood purchased by the University is on the MSC Fish to Eat list, which highlights species that can be fished sustainably and aren't endangered.

In 2019, the University Catering and Retail Services team scored 71% in celebrating local and seasonal produce and 73% in supporting global farmers, as part of the Sustainable Restaurant Association star rating.

Removal of Single-use Carrier Bags

  • Sales of single-use plastic carrier bags in the Market Place shops has now ceased and paper bags are being provided. 

Water Refill Stations

  • We have installed over 100 water fountains across our campuses to provide free drinking water to staff, students and visitors.

Reusable Water Bottles and Concert Cups

  • Fresh Ideas, the University delivered food service team, introduced branded water bottles and dispensers for use by customers on campus.
  • Fresh Ideas have also introduced reusable cups and draft drinks for live events, removing the need for single-use plastic drinks bottles.
  • Give Me Tap reusable water bottles are available to buy from Eat and Shop outlets, encouraging staff, studentsand visitors to fill their bottle from a water point on campus.

Disposable Cup Recycling - Simply Cups

  • Disposable cups can be fully recycled on both the Streatham and St Luke’s campuses in Simply Cup bins, located in multiple high footfall areas.

University Re-usable Cups

  • University branded KeepCups are available to buy from the Eat and Shop outlets, with hot drink prices for customers with a reusable cup being reduced by 25p.
  • Rice husk cups are also available with a new range of Barisca Coffee Co. branded cups coming soon.

Read more about the University's commitment to reducing plastic waste in the Single Use Plastic Strategy 2018‌.

Food Waste Tracking

  • We currently capture food preparation waste from all University operated catering kitchens which supply retail outlets and catered halls of residence.
  • In 2020/21 food waste totalled 64.27 tonnes. Diverting this food waste away from incineration into the anaerobic digestion process results in it only accounting for 1% of our waste related carbon emissions. We report on this annually in our Year End Report.
  • Our daily waste contractor reports monthly on our successes by supplying the weight of food bins from each location. The report also gives a clear indication of potential sites for improved segredation where non-recyclable waste bins are high in number and volume of content, with no food waste stream being present.

Other developments

  • We are exploring options to further expand the anaerobic digestion waste stream by successfully capturing 'plate scraped' food waste from public eating areas and student kitchens.
  • Our Market Place Forum Shop (Streatham Campus) will be listed on the Too Good To Go app. This is where students and staff can purchase a magic bag of goodies that are at the end of their use by or best before dates. It helps to combat the huge issue of food being wasted. Items can be anything from sandwiches, to drinks and jars, and you won't know what you are going to get until you pick it up.