Food for Life Catering Mark helps University of Greenwich to highest ever Green League score
30 May 2012
The University of Greenwich, which has been awarded the Soil Association's bronze Food for Life Catering Mark across all of its catering services, has become the newest name at the top of The People and Planet Green League. Awarded 55 out of a possible 70 points, Greenwich received the highest ever Green League score, bolstered by a top score for sustainable food. 
The 2012 Green League assessed 145 universities against 13 criteria designed to measure their environmental and ethical commitments and performance compared with other universities. The Sustainable Food criteria - now in its third year - revealed clear improvements across the board and represented one of the biggest areas of progress across the sector.
Universities can gain points in the Green League sustainable food category for achieving the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark. Of the top five universities in this year’s league, three of them have achieved the Food for Life Catering Mark. A total of 46 universities achieved ‘Firsts’ this year, compared with 31 last year.
Four out of the top ten universities scored full points for the Sustainable Food criteria overall. Along with Greenwich, the universities of Plymouth and Nottingham Trent, which have both achieved the Catering Mark, received full marks for Sustainable Food, as did Bournemouth. Greenwich was recognised for its commitment to serving only free range eggs and only using organic milk – something which will take it much closer to the silver Catering Mark, which it hopes to achieve in the near future.
Key findings from the Sustainable Food criteria this year were:
- 40% of sector now have publicly-available Sustainable Food policies (up from 34% in 2011)
- 53% of the sector now only purchasing free-range eggs (up from 47% in 2011)
- 40% of the sector sourcing only sustainable fish
Chris Powner, University of Greenwich Director of Facilities Management said: “We’re very proud to be ranked at the top of this year’s People and Planet Green League and to receive full marks for serving sustainable food. Achieving the bronze Food for Life Catering Mark has provided us with a really useful framework to guide the development of our catering services, alongside our contract caterers ABM.
Our caterers are now working towards the silver Catering Mark and we hope our commitment to using only organic milk and free range eggs will help us to achieve it soon. It’s great to be recognised for all of the hard work and investment by staff and students towards making Greenwich a more sustainable University."
Rob Sexton, Chief Executive of Soil Association Certification said:
"What we eat accounts for up to 30 per cent of our individual carbon footprint so we're delighted to see the issue of food gaining increased recognition in the Green League. The league recognises the Soil Association's Food for Life Catering Mark as a unique guarantee that a university is moving towards serving more sustainable menus.
"It's also great to see that this year's winning university has been awarded the bronze Food for Life Catering Mark and is currently working on achieving silver. This means that the University of Greenwich is serving freshly prepared meals which are free from controversial additives and better for animal welfare. The Soil Association and People & Planet have many aims in common and we hope to see sustainable food play an even larger part in future Green Leagues."
For press enquiries contact the Soil Association press office:
Clio Turton, press office manager - 0117 914 2448 / 07795 562 556
Josh Stride, press & e-communications officer – 0117 314 5170 / 07717 802 183
 Food for Life Catering Mark menu criteria include:
- Meals contain no undesirable food additives or hydrogenated fats
- 75% of dishes are freshly prepared
- Meat is from farms which satisfy UK welfare standards
- Eggs are from cage-free hens
- Menus are seasonal
- Training is provided for all catering staff
- No GM ingredients are used
- Free drinking water is prominently available
- No endangered fish are served
- Information is on display about food provenance
Silver and gold
The silver and gold Catering Mark standards are assessed on a points system. Food providers are rewarded for every percentage point of their ingredient spend on items including organic and free range animal products, locally sourced ingredients and steps to offer healthier menus. The points system maintains rigorous principles for environmentally friendly, local and healthy food, yet offers flexibility to recognise food providers’ different strengths and priorities. Silver and gold Catering Mark holders must also meet the bronze standards.
 The People & Planet Green League 2012 ranks 145 UK universities – awarding them a First, 2:1, 2:2, Third, or Fail – according to environmental policy, management and actual performance in areas such as carbon reduction, waste recycling, student engagement, green curriculum, energy efficiency, transport emissions, sustainable food, ethical procurement and water consumption. See full methodology. The results can be viewed at: http://peopleandplanet.org/greenleague
About the Food for Life Catering Mark and Food for Life Partnership
The Food for Life Catering Mark originated as part of the successful Food for Life Partnership, which is working with 4,500 schools across the country to put fresh, healthy dinners on the school menu and food education in the timetable. The Food for Life Catering Mark is open to all food providers across the UK. Over 550,000 Catering Mark standard meals are served each week day – that’s over 101 million every year. The scheme is open to all food providers for meals served in universities, nurseries, schools, hospitals and restaurants. For more information on the Food for Life Catering Mark please see http://www.soilassociation.org/cateringmark
About the Soil Association
The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by a group of farmers, scientists and nutritionists who observed a direct connection between the health of the soil, food, people and the environment. Today the Soil Association is the UK's leading organic organisation, with over 200 staff based in Bristol and Edinburgh. It is an educational charity with some 27,000 members, and its certification subsidiary, Soil Association Certification Ltd, certifies over 80% of organic farming and food processing in the UK.http://www.soilassociation.org
About People & Planet
People & Planet is the largest UK student network campaigning to end world poverty, defend human rights and protect the environment. The People & Planet Green League is produced as part of the Going Greener campaign which aims to transform the environmental performance of the UK education sector. For more information, visit: http://peopleandplanet.org/goinggreener