The University of Southampton

Environmental Policy

Our environmental policy sets out the University of Southampton Catering Department’s intention to be more environmentally sustainable and minimise the impact of its business activities on the environment.

We recognise that day-to-day production, operation, service and disposal of food and drink is likely to consume moderately high levels of natural resources and generate significant volumes of packaging and food waste. It is therefore vital that we constantly take measures and review practices to reduce waste and manage our procurement processes to support and protect the environment, natural habitat and our precious eco-system. 

Our Commitments:

Purchasing and supply chain

  • Where feasible, purchase local and seasonal produce from local suppliers
  • Purchase local drinking bottled water supplied by a local distributer
  • Work with regional food organisations that seek to promote local supply and enterprise


  • Reduce palm oil containing products by 15% in year one with the aim of eradicating palm oil form our facilities by 2023
  • Create palm oil friendly retail/café areas (one per annum)
  • Do not add any palm oil based products to our existing product range
  • Reduce soy-based foods and substitute with vegan alternatives
  • Move to recycled paper for all non-publicised paper materials
  • Purchase RFA certified coffee and promote RFA confectionary
  • Continue to create awareness of the RFA to our customers, inform people of the importance of protecting our most endangered habitat and species
Palm oil free

Palm oil free

The Arlott Bar on Highfield Campus and the National Oceanography Centre cafe are now palm oil free, and it’s our aim to remove palm oil from all of our catering outlets by 2023.

Go to the Arlott Bar on Highfield Campus

Land degradation

  • Reduce beef products in all outlets, remove all beef products from our ethical cafes (Waterfront Café, Arlott Brasserie), and create more awareness about the detrimental effect cattle farming is having on our eco-systems
Vegan and Vegetarian food on Campus

Vegan and Vegetarian food on Campus

We are constantly increasing the number of vegan dishes and confectionery across all University campuses

Go to the Piazza restaurant

Resource depletion

  • Support the campaign to ‘turn off’ power, water and gas across all outlets, offices and kitchens
  • Introduce a policy that prohibits the purchasing of any kitchen equipment that has an efficiency rating of less that A
  • All future contractor tender processes must have an environmental consideration and be part of the scoring matrix

Food waste

  • All waste kitchen oil is sent for recycling
  • The introduction of food waste reduction schemes such as ‘help yourself’ aimed at reducing leftover food counter waste by giving it away free of charge
  • All our ground coffee bean waste is recycled as soil improver and scattered across University grounds

Ocean degradation

  • A recyclable cup scheme is in place at both catered halls which has eradicated all single use plastic plant based cups
  • All plastic/plant-based cutlery has been replaced by wood alternatives across all catering outlets and catered halls
  • All non-single use containers/service ware is regenerated back into the delivered catering service
  • Unavoidable single use containers must be disposed of via the University’s  recycling policy
  • Remove and replace all plastic containing products such as tea bags from outlets by the close of 2020
  • Bring your own cup schemes are in place across all catering outlets and hot vending machines
  • Create plastic-free initiatives such as plastic free-meals served at the Waterfront Campus cafe

Plastic-free meals

The team at NOCS have also experimented with creating meals that are plastic-free from source to plate.

Air pollution & environmental degradation

  • Seek to use eco-friendly cleaning products across all catering facilities
  • Ensure all food outlets offer vegetarian and vegan food
  • Where feasible avoid using frozen produce 
  • Reduce rice purchases and substitute with more sustainable alternatives
  • Replace existing delivered fuel vans with electric powered vehicles by 2024

 Procurement statement concerning sustainability and animal welfare

  • Suppliers must have Farm-Assured and Red Tractor accreditation to supply to the University poultry and dairy
  • The University will only purchase British poultry and eggs
  • The University will only purchase free-range eggs
  • The University will only source fish from sustainable sources and will avoid any species named on the Marine Stewardship Council endangered list

This Environmental Policy was approved by the University of Southampton Environmental Strategy Committee, 2019

Our Environmental policy message is NOT JUST AT WORK!

Our message to all is NOT JUST AT WORK!

If we want to secure a healthy planet for all future generations, we must act now. Sustainability must be embedded in everyday life, in all decision-making and future investment.