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Responsible Consumption and Production

The University is well positioned to tackle challenges relating to consumption and production. Our operational activity seeks to reduce waste and incorporate sustainability considerations within procurement activity and our research and partnerships help to develop sustainable consumption and production patterns beyond our campus. We promote and incentivise responsible consumption behaviours among our thousands of staff and students.

In the Spotlight: taste Northumbria

taste Northumbria is the trading name for our catering provider, Chartwells, who operate all restaurants and cafés at our City and Coach Lane Campuses. The operator is a part of the global catering company Compass Group UK and Ireland. Tackling food waste and embedding sustainability in the supply chain are some of the key areas being addressed by taste Northumbria. They regularly engage with suppliers to review the types of packaging used and are committed to trading ethically. We hold the Bronze Food for Life certification which recognises the practices outlined in our Sustainable Food Policy including only using free range eggs and responsibly sourced fish and the use of local and seasonal produce. 

At a Glance: From Our Research to Our Operations

  • We are a signatory of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, an initiative led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment aiming to reduce plastic waste. We are identifying use of plastics across the University so that areas for improvement can be identified and addressed.
  • We have a large number of water fountains around campus at which reusable bottles can be refilled. These can be located using our Sustainable Campus Map as well as on the Refill app.
  • Reusable mugs can be used in all University catering outlets as an alternative to disposable paper cups and entitling the customer to 20p off the cost of their hot drink. The Mug for Life reusable cup can be bought in our outlets - our supplier plants a tree in the UK for every 10 mugs sold.
  • We were the first University in the UK to introduce Too Good To Go, an app that allows users to purchase meals that would have otherwise gone to waste at a reduced price.
  • We take part in the OLIO scheme which connects our catering outlets with the local community to share and donate leftover food.
  • Our Sustainable Food Policy commits to a wide range of measures to maximise the positive impact of our production and retail of food on campus. This includes sourcing local and seasonal produce, provenance of items such as eggs and fish, and the use of ethically marked products such as Fairtrade.
  • We have a zero non-hazardous waste to landfill policy and dispose of waste in accordance with the waste hierarchy. We donate thousands of unwanted items to charity each year both through the British Heart Foundation Pack for Good Scheme and through donations of unwanted furniture arising from refurbishment projects.
  • Our students and staff have designed sustainable fashion projects to challenge consumer attitudes and habits. These were showcased at the ‘Wear to Now? The Changing Shape of Sustainable Fashion Revolution’ exhibition in our Design School in summer 2019.
  • Our Responsible Tourism Research Group explores the natural, social and economic impacts of tourism, and develops solutions to how tourism producers and consumers can minimise negative, and maximise positive, impacts.

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