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Reduced climate impact on the menu

Food and an eating.
From next year, KTH will introduce a new food standard for meals ordered through catering (Photo: Mostphotos).
Published Nov 28, 2023

From next year, the food ordered for meetings, events and representation will have WWF's One Planet Plate labelling as standard - this is to reduce KTH's climate footprint per meal in line with KTH's sustainability goals.

"It is part of our sustainability work and a way to integrate sustainability more clearly into our everyday life," says Anders Söderholm, President of KTH, about the decision.

"Just as we review other areas such as travel, property and energy to reduce our climate impact. It is also important for our credibility as a leading higher education institution in sustainable development that we take our goals seriously."

Thousands of portions

Thousands of meals and portions are ordered through catering to KTH every year. The climate aspect has been included in purchases before as well, but now the requirements are more specific when it comes to meals.

"Both staff and students have also requested more plant-based food. For example KTH Students for Sustainability have worked for this a long time by collecting signatures. It should be easy to do the right thing and may seem like a small change, but it still makes a big difference," says Erica-Dawn Egan, Sustainability Strategist at KTH FOOD and KTH Sustainability Office.

She is leading the work, together with the Procurement Group, to introduce the new standard.

Potrait on Erica-Dawn Egan.
Erica-Dawn Egan, Sustainability Strategist.

The standard means that a meal without drinks should generate a maximum of 0.5 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions and that cereals, rapeseed, potatoes, carrots, onions and rice should be organically certified and, if meat or fish is included, they should have a green light in the WWF guides.

How will this be reflected on the plate?

"More vegetables, fruit, legumes and less animal products. So you could say it's good for both health and the planet."

But why are you not allowed to eat as you like?

"This only concerns the meals that KTH orders and offers. It makes One Planet Plate the default, while allowing people to choose meat/dairy products. This strategy is an important step for KTH to fulfil our climate goals and improve health and inclusion while preserving freedom of choice. Already today, there are several suppliers that have plant-based and One Planet Plate meals in their offerings. Sometimes this may not be possible either, and you have to find other but still environmentally better alternatives," says Erica-Dawn Egan.

When does this apply?

"We've started by making an inventory of what orders look like today, what our contracted suppliers offer and how we work with catering throughout the organisation. Then we will talk to everyone involved about how we can establish new joint working methods and routines for our orders. According to the action plan, this will be in 2024."

The investment in the new food standard will be evaluated and followed up on an ongoing basis.

On the new standard

One Planet Plate is a standard for a meal aimed at reducing the impact on climate and biodiversity. It has been developed by WWF with the support of a scientific council as a reference group. At WWF, the standard One Planet Plate  is presented in more detail.

Text: Jill Klackenberg

Belongs to: Current
Last changed: Nov 28, 2023