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Sustainability News

Sustainable Restaurant Association

We are delighted to have achieved the highest rating as part of our Sustainable Restaurant Association membership.

Less Single Use Cups

Kitchen Garden

Less Dairy

One Star Award

Sustainable Food and Drink Initiatives

Our Environmental Commitments

As the University Catering and Retail Services Team, we take our responsibilities to the environment very seriously. As part of our commitment to the University's climate change emergency declaration, we're always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint and become more sustainable.

We are continuously working towards actions on our ‌ and looking for new ways and initiatives to create more sustainable practices. This year one of our main projects is in developing a Kitchen Garden with the University Grounds Team. 

We had a successful Veganuary campaign where we encouraged our customers to eat less meat and try new meals through promotional offers and food pop ups. We understand the importance of working with our student community. We encourage students to get involved in embedding Fairtrade throughout our services and engage directly with student societies in addition to support through Go Green Week and Grand Challenges. 

As well as striving to ensure that our daily practices are as sustainable as possible, we have worked hard to make improvements in many areas of our business, and have celebrated some great achievements during the past 4 years, as follows:

Environmental achievements 2018-19

Environmental achievements 2019-20

Environmental achievements 2020-21

Environmental achievements 2021-22

Environmental achievements 2022-23

We are also proud to share a film here that includes some of our Exeter collegues! 

Too Good to Go

Our Market Place Forum shop is listed on the Too Good to Go app. This is where you 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.

3 Star Sustainable Restaurant Association Rating

The Sustainable Restaurant Association help organisations to move towards a better food system in many areas of their business. They begin by auditing current practices in a range of criteria, then make a series of recommendations for improvement.

Many of the areas help to tackle sustainability issues, including the climate crisis, world hunger, food waste and drought. The University is proud to have achieved the highest rating, scoring highly in celebrating local and seasonal food; supporting global farmers, particularly though our work with the Fairtrade Foundation; treating staff fairly and through efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle.


The University is committed to supporting, using and promoting Fairtrade within the retail and catering outlets on campus and works towards a number of goals set by the Fairtrade Foundation.

Find out more about our Fairtrade commitment and read our policy >

Our Suppliers

We carefully select suppliers who share our passion for the environment and are proud to partner with some local and highly sustainable producers.

Find out more about Our Suppliers >

Our Climate Emergency and Sustainability Actions

Responsible Sourcing

  • A 20% reduction of meat content in meal production, supplementing with plant-based alternatives such as Quorn, soya and jackfruit.
  • Use of sustainable fish farmers.
  • Glass bottled water sourced from Devon rather than Wales.
  • All our hot drinks and sugar are Fairtrade certified.
  • Where meat is on menus, it is sourced via our supplier in a sustainable way.

Carbon Footprint

  • Streamlining supplier orders to our Catered Halls has seen a 50% reduction in vehicle deliveries to campus.
  • Less diesel truck visits to campus by reducing delivery days by 50%.
  • With over 431 South West products on our supply list, the distance that our ingredients travel is minimal.
  • By switching to electric vehicles for our delivered food service we have drastically reduced our emissions. 80 % of our vehicle fleet are now electric.
  • Significantly reduced our food miles by moving from 40 to 10 suppliers.
  • Waste cooking oil is collected and converted into bio fuel.

Plastic and Recycling

  • Coke have announced they are moving to 100% recycled plastic on all on-the-go bottles of 500ml or less. Read their story here.
  • Plastic bags have been replaced by paper bags in our Market Place shops.
  • 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 draught drinks for live events, removing the need for single-use plastic drinks bottles.
  • Reusable water bottles are available to buy from Eat and Shop outlets, encouraging visitors, staff and students to fill their bottle from one of over 100 free water refill stations on campus.
  • We've prevented the waste of over 5,000 plastic milk bottles through smarter milk use.
  • We've removed all plastic straws, cutlery and sauce sachets from our outlets.
  • 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 40p.
  • Barisca Coffee Co. and University branded Huskup rice husk cups are also available.




  • We use Planglow take away eco-packaging in many of our cafes. This environmentally friendly alternative to polystyrene and other oil-based plastic packaging is designed to have minimal impact on the environment and is made from sustainable, plant-based materials that will break down in composting environments. Planglow work with mills that source their raw materials - wood and corn starch - from renewable growth forests or plantations.
  • The sandwich packaging in our cafes comes from the Real Wrap Co. who are working hard to elimate plastic and tackle the issue of food waste. They are working with FareShare South West, a Bristol-based charity who take quality, in-date surplus food from the food industry and redistribute it to over 180 charities, schools and community groups across the region. They have also engaged local brewery Wiper and True to create a toast ale using their waste bread.
  • All takeaway containers are now 100% compostable and recyclable.