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Food Ethics

Robinson College is committed to improving and minimising the impact of its operations on the environment. The Team in the Catering and Conference Department recognises that food production, availability and delivery are areas where the impact of operations can have a significant effect upon sustainability of supply. In order to minimise the impact of its operations therefore, the department has adopted the following Food Ethics Policy.

Robinson College recognises its responsibility to offer healthy and sustainable food where practically possible in order to sustain the local economy and reduce environmental impacts.

We commit to:

  • To encourage all our suppliers to source products that are local and where possible and financially sensible, the College selects such products for purchase.
  • To provide healthy and sustainable food to our staff, students, Fellows and Conference visitors.
  • To ensure that, through the supply chain and distribution systems, our suppliers are working to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Use fish that is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.
  • Use Fairtrade products where applicable, actively support Fairtrade fortnight and provide year round information and products which support Fairtrade initiatives.
  • To increase our low carbon menus across all our catering outlets.
  • Ensure animal welfare is high on our agenda when procuring eggs, poultry, meat and dairy produce.
  • To carry out and review and better our monitoring sustainability targets.

To work with organisations that will increase awareness of our sustainable policy such as Sustainable University Association, Sustainable food cities and Good farm animal welfare awards.

We believe in ethical sourcing - ensuring high standards of animal welfare and championing local produce. Our suppliers: To help achieve this policy, Robinson College has carefully selected its suppliers and is proud to be associated with reputable companies who have procedures in place to enable us to ensure that we are able to manage the impact of our purchasing decisions

Cheese + Papworth: Bedfordshire wood farm free range eggs, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk cheese and British charcuterie.

The Denham Estate, Barrow, Bury St Edmunds: Estate-reared venison, and rare breed beef and lamb. Also home produced apple juice.

Hilary’s Wholesale, Cambridge: Fruit and vegetables supplies from Ely, Boston, Chatteris, Lincolnshire, March and many other local farms.

Powter’s of Newmarket: Award winning sausage meat, sausages and chipolatas.

Foodwell, Waterbeach, Cambs : All of our potatoes are from Little Downham, Cambs.

Barkers Bakery, Cottenham, Cambs: All our fresh bread, French sticks and baps.

Radwinter Wild Game, Saffron Walden: Local game from Trumpington, Great Shelford and Duxford.

Andrews Butchers, Cambridge: East Anglian free range pork, beef and lamb and free range chicken.

Marrfish, Bishops Stortford: Our sustainable seafood.

  • Minimise energy usage in food production, transport and storage through careful operational management and by controlling supplier delivery processes.
  • Re-cycling – suppliers are encouraged to reduce packaging. The majority of them use packaging that is biodegradable and/or recyclable. The College has its own recycling system in place – collection bins for tins, plastic, glass and cardboard. Recycled waste is collected by a local recycling company.
  • Food waste

    Ellgia provides an innovative food recycling service to help their customers divert further waste away from landfill. We send all food to a local partner facility who have created a unique process for dealing with all food waste.Organic matter is de-packaged and processed through Anaerobic Digestion, by which organic matter such as animal or food waste is broken down to produce biogas and biofertiliser. Biogas is naturally created in sealed tanks and used as a fuel in a CHP (combined heat and power) unit to generate renewable energy for local communities. What’s left from the process is a nutrient rich biofertiliser which is pasteurised to kill any pathogens and then stored in large covered tanks ready to be applied twice a year on farmland in place of fossil fuel derived fertilisers.

    Minimised deliveries Through careful ordering, to reduce the number of delivery visits required.

If you can measure it, you can manage it and it is a key objective within the policy to measure and therefore manage our performance. Areas where we are already achieving some success are:

  • Origin of food produce – suppliers are being required, over time, to state the provenance of products on their invoices. For some suppliers, this requires a computer system change which we accept cannot happen overnight. As this information becomes increasingly available, through recorded statistics, we expect to target/drive sourcing preferences.
  • Increased re-cycling of packaging and food waste results in reduced land-fill waste. Our record of landfill waste reduction is monitored and recorded.

Gary Dougan
Head Chef
Robinson College
Updated September 2023