Community and environment

Working with our local and wider community, as well as trying to source ethical and sustainable resources is something we take very seriously.

Certification and accreditation

RAPS - Retail Action Plan for Sustainability

The Retail Team are conscious of the environmental impact their products and services can have and as such have been working with the Sustainability Team to develop a Retail Action Plan for Sustainability.  The RAPS team have reviewed sales, the products sold and the potential to influence packaging and/or behaviours and as a result are focussing on:

  • Sandwiches and their packaging
  • Coffee cups
  • Labelling and messaging around what can and cannot be recycled (and how)
  • “Takeaway” packaging

 

Coffee – Fair Trade or Rain Forest Alliance

Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. In the UK, we drink approximately 95 million cups of coffee per day, it is a lucrative multi-billion pound business. However, a closer look at the supply chain shows coffee is a complex and often an unfair affair for the person behind every bean – the farmer. 

Fairtrade coffee

Fairtrade coffee is certified as having been produced to fair trade standards. These partnerships contribute to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to coffee bean farmers.  When you choose Fairtrade coffee, not only can farmers build a better quality of life for their families and communities, they can invest in growing better quality beans too.  Fairtrade coffee farmers invest at least 25 percent of their Fairtrade premium in improving productivity and quality.  Choose Fairtrade coffee and you’re also supporting farmers to fight the challenges they may face.  These include the effects of a changing climate, low and unpredictable incomes and in some coffee growing communities, there may not be enough food available for three to four months a year.  Being part of Fairtrade has meant better knowledge about protecting the local environment and the chance to plant other crops and buy livestock to put more food on the table.

Rain Forest Alliance coffee

The Rainforest Alliance works with sustainable coffee farmers to improve their livelihoods and the health and well-being of their communities. Coffee farms or groups of smallholder farmers that earn the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal are audited annually against a rigorous standard with detailed environmental, social and economic criteria. These criteria are designed to protect biodiversity, deliver financial benefits to farmers, and foster a culture of respect for workers and local communities. Rainforest Alliance certification also promotes decent living and working conditions for workers, gender equity and access to education for children in farm communities. 

But it’s not just the coffee itself which has to be considered…

Coffee grounds

Our coffee machines freshly grind coffee beans for each cup of coffee and as a result produce waste coffee grounds.  For every Kg of coffee beans purchased we produce around twice this in waste product.  The university purchases around 15,000Kg of coffee beans each year which produced around 30,000Kg of coffee grounds.  We make these grounds available to staff for use in the garden or add them to our food waste collections thus avoiding landfill.  We are also looking to incorporate some within our own composting activities.

Disposable hot drink cups

Some customers are taking advantage of the 10% discount we offer for bringing a reusable cup, however as a University we are still selling over 300,000 hot drinks in disposable cups.  Whilst these cups can be recycled, this is only possible if they are separated in the special cup recycling bins across the campus.  Why not buy a Loughborough Cup or one of the new rCups on sale in our retail outlets; of course you can use any reusable cup. 

Sandwiches

Food-to-go supplier Real Wrap Co. have started selling their products in the University’s retail outlets as part of a new partnership with Loughborough.

With a focus on providing a range of delicious food-to-go products, the company is committed to satisfying staff and students with their products which use quality ingredients and innovative on-trend recipes.

The outlets will be offering sandwiches, wraps, salads, snacks, and drinks produced by Real Wrap Co.

Many of their products are suitable for vegetarians, vegans and those who are gluten intolerant.

Not only this, but they are also dedicated to making sure they minimise their impact on the environment.

Their environmentally-friendly commitments include:

  • Using only sustainably sourced palm oil
  • 100% recyclable salad packaging
  • Zero food waste when making sandwiches
  • And converting any other food waste into bio-gas and fertiliser to make electricity
  • Using MSC certified tuna
  • And even recycling their leftover crusts into beer!

As part of the new partnership, sandwich recycling bins have been placed across campus to encourage staff, students and visitors of the University to separate their waste and recycle correctly. They will be located at Edward Herbert Building, West Park Teaching Hub, James France and the Design School.

Talking about why Real Wrap Co. was chosen as the new supplier, Environmental Manager Nik Hunt commented: “I was involved in the tender process and asked a lot of questions around the suppliers sustainability credentials but also about the products they would be supplying. 

“Of all the packaging and products seen and the responses provided, The Real Wrap Co provided the best responses around environmental sustainability and we could see a real opportunity to work with them and improve our sustainability as a result.  We will be working with them to develop these solutions over the coming months.”

Jason, Real Wrap Co’s co-founder, added: “We are overjoyed to be working with Loughborough University, providing students and staff with quality and flavoursome food-to-go. What has shone out to us is Loughborough’s commitment to improving their environmental credentials, which is amazing to see given the current demand for responsible retailing. We ourselves are always looking for ways to improve our sustainability, and are excited to trial many possible solutions with the University in the near future!”

Find out more about the story of Real Wrap Co. here. 

 

Sustainable Palm Oil

Palm Oil has been and continues to be a major driver of deforestation of some of the world’s most biodiverse forests, destroying the habitat of already endangered species like the Orangutan, pygmy elephant and Sumatran rhino. This forest loss coupled with conversion of carbon rich peat soils are throwing out millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. There also remains some exploitation of workers and child labour.  Unfortunately Palm Oil occurs in many products we find on our retail shelves and as such is hard to avoid (it can be found in around 50% of products). It is an extremely versatile oil that has many different properties and functions which makes it so useful and widely used. However Palm Oil can be produced more sustainably and things can change. The Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil or RSPO was formed in 2004 in response to increasing concerns about the impacts Palm Oil was having on the environment and on society. The RSPO has a production standard that sets best practices producing and sourcing Palm Oil, this is referred to as Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). WWF International is committed to the RSPO's vision of sustainable Palm Oil, as demonstrated by the role it played in establishing the RSPO in 2001 and its ongoing engagement in the RSPO process since then. Loughborough University has made a commitment to actively encourage and support the production of Palm Oil in a sustainable and socially responsible manner and has a full statement and action plan in respect to this.

 

Plastics

No page on sustainability would be complete without some reference to plastics. There are many products which come in plastic packaging of varying types making plastic hard to avoid, particularly as not all products are available in alternative packaging.  There are also issues around the use of alternative packaging if this is substituted for a less sustainable alternative or if a potentially sustainable alternative is used but is then not recycled resulting in a greater environmental impact.  Plastics are a highly versatile form of packaging which can protect the products our customers wish to buy and where possible we will be seeking to ensure that these are the right types of plastic to make them readily recyclable.  Our customers can reduce the environmental impact of plastics by ensuring that they recycle these in the plastics or mixed recycling bins across the campus and not in the non-recyclables bins.

 

Our suppliers

  • Adkins Bakery - Bread 
  • Brakes - General food 
  • Bestway - Retail products 
  • Cafeology - Coffee  (Rainforest Alliance certified)
  • Costa - Coffee  (Rainforest Alliance certified)
  • Crowndale - General food 
  • Kirby and west - Milk and dairy 
  • Manor Farm - Dairy and yoghurt 
  • National Forrest Spring Water - Water 
  • Sunrise - Egg 
  • Real Wrap co - Sandwich