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Sustainable food principles

The RCA outsources its catering provision. In doing so, providers must support our overarching environmental principles by:

  • Committing to sustainability in their operations
  • Operating an Environmental Management Standard, ideally accredited to BS EN ISO14001:2015
  • Working with their supply chain to further make environmental approval

In doing so, the RCA will :

  • Minimise food transport/ ‘food miles’
  • Reduce waste through packaging recycling, reuse or reduction
  • Commit to efficient use of energy and water throughout the food production process
  • Ban the sale of beef (but not dairy) from July 2024
  • Ban the sale of single use plastic water bottles from July 2024
  • Ensure all takeaway coffee is served in compostable containers/lids from July 2024
  • Offer Discounts to consumers using their own reusable cups from July 2024

The RCA is also committed to reducing food waste, working in conjunction with the London Higher Operations Network’s Circular Food Sprint, run in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Mayor of London’s Food Flagship Initiative, which aims to create a circular food economy for London HE campuses.

As of the Autumn term 2021, the College’s waste contractor, Capital Waste, began sending food waste to an anaerobic digestion plant, and so now the peelings and parings from kitchen preparation and the leftovers from diners’ plates are converted into electricity for homes and bio-fertiliser for agriculture.

Capital Waste delivers the food waste to an Agrivert organic waste treatment facility. Each year this facility handles approximately 60,000 tonnes of food – enough to fill 25 Olympic swimming pools – and provides power to 25,000 local homes and businesses.

The RCA’s current catering provider is BaxterStorey

BaxterStorey operates a robust Environmental Management System (EMS) accredited to BS EN ISO14001:2015 (EMS Certificate Number 611151). They understand the impact our business has on the environment and have identified significant aspects which include but are not limited to:

  • Minimising the effects of transport
  • Recycling packaging
  • Minimising waste
  • Efficient use of energy resources and water

The management of these significant aspects is documented within this EMS.

BaxterStorey aims to continuously improve environmental performance. They are committed to minimising the risk of pollution, reducing the level of waste and emissions that arise as a result of the normal day to day business activities of the company.

They are committed to complying with all relevant environmental legislation, regulations and other requirements as they arise. The company recognise that legislative requirements and industry codes of practice are a minimum level of performance and it is the intention of the company to supersede these requirements as a matter of course.

BaxterStorey recognise the importance of training and education of environmental management controls to all employees across our business; it is integral to their EMS that staff understand the impact they have as individuals, and the impact their actions have on the environmental performance of the organisation and indeed the sustainability of the planet itself.

BaxterStorey monitors progress and reviews environmental performance on an annual basis.

They are committed to undertaking ‘greening of the supply chain’ to ensure our suppliers achieve at least minimum standards of environmental performance; and are committed to participate actively in environmental discussion groups through industry associations and initiatives to help raise awareness and improve industry wide performance.

Monitoring and reporting

To give effect to its commitment to its Policy the RCA will:

  • Publish its full Policy on its website and intranet
  • Publish the carbon impact of food stuffs - ie dairy, beef, lamb, plant-based ‘meat’ alternatives (but not analyse the carbon footprint of each particular product on sale by end 2024.
  • Provide an annual update to the RCA SMT

Any expressions of concern should be made to the Chair of the Sustainability Committee, who is currently the RCA’s Chief Operating Officer.

Review process

The Sustainable Food Policy will be subject to regular review by the RCA Sustainability Committee and RCA SMT. It was last approved by RCA SMT in July 2022.