The University of Brighton is the first higher education institution in the UK to be awarded a new rating for running sustainable restaurants.
The University Catering Rating was developed by the University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) and is being run by the Sustainable
Restaurant Association (SRA) to recognise outstanding achievements of university caterers across the country and help drive best practice.
The SRA recognised Brighton’s policy of ensuring all the seafood it serves is from sustainable sources, its commitment to selling Fairtrade products at catering sites across campus, and its marketing programme, which recently achieved a record-breaking 100 per cent rating from independent assessors.
The new rating is regarded as the “Michelin stars of sustainability”, according to Julie Barker, TUCO Chair and Director of Accommodation and Hospitality at the University of Brighton. She said: “I am delighted by the exceptional score achieved by University of Brighton to achieve the rating.”
Plymouth University is now the second university to receive the award and Ms Barker expects many more higher education institutions to join the scheme.
She said: “Using the University of Brighton as the pilot and making iterations through the process to ensure the model works regardless of the size of university or college – every TUCO member will now be able to benefit from this strategic new partnership as part of their journey into sustainable improvement.
Ms Barker said the new scheme recognises the most sustainable restaurants in the UK and across the world, and gives diners a means of finding places to eat in that match their values: “As the leading authority on sustainability across the hospitality and food service sector, the SRA also provides expert advice to restaurants, pubs, hotels, cafés and caterers.”
Ms Barker said the rating is built around three pillars: sourcing, environment and society – all of which will be independently assessed against criteria developed alongside the University of Brighton, and takes into account the raft of dining occasions the site provides, and the unique nature of university catering.
She said: “Working in partnership with the SRA, TUCO has developed a ratings model that is sector specific to our market – a model which recognises the bespoke challenges faced by those operating in the Higher Education sector while retaining its unique integrity through the way it is scored.
“The process has challenged us to find the areas we can do better in. I would urge that other universities and TUCO members to give real consideration to take advantage of this accreditation that is highly relevant and beneficial.”