Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Good Food Policy

The University of Edinburgh takes a whole institution approach to food and its connection to health and sustainability.

SRS Good Food green icon, knife and fork

As a University, we recognise the need to keep food systems within environmental limits while supporting sustainable livelihoods. Our vision is to run a responsible catering service that succeeds in providing healthy, sustainable and affordable food to the University community. We also aim to support staff and student-led activities and research to enhance the University’s contribution to sustainable food systems.

The University’s Good Food Policy sets out our ambitions in five key areas: sourcing, provision, practice, research, learning and teaching and leadership and culture. The policy was first approved in 2016, and updated in 2020.

The Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability (SRS Department), the Department for Accommodation, Catering and Events (ACE) and the Procurement Office are jointly responsible for delivering the policy. We work together to put our commitments into practice and identify areas for further improvement.

Find out more about the University’s sustainable catering practices and good food initiatives:


Recent achievements

In November 2019, the University won an EAUC Green Gown Award in the Campus Health, Food and Drink category for our commitment to responsible catering and our whole institution approach. The Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges.

The University’s coffee cup levy was also shortlisted in the Reduce, Re-use, Recycle category of the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s 2019 Food Made Good Awards

2019/20 priorities

Each year we introduce new improvements that become part of our mainstream practices.

This year some of our priorities are:

  • Increasing our range of vegetarian and plant-based options. By July 2020, at least 50% of meal options in our outlets will be veggie or plant-based.
  • Ensuring that no edible food is wasted. We have started selling surplus food on the Too Good To Go app and are exploring other solutions.
  • Raising our disposable cup levy from 25 pence to 30 pence in order to discourage disposable cup use.
  • Supporting a community group working improve food education and access to sustainable food in Edinburgh.

  • Implementing the University’s new Palm Oil Policy, beginning with an audit of catering products.
  • Continuing to offer opportunities for staff and students to learn about sustainable food via ACE’s student Cook School, and SRS Department events and student research placements.

Learn more about our Good Food Policy

Download Good Food Policy documents below.


The Department for Accommodation, Catering and Events manages the University’s catering service. 


Find out more about Accommodation, Catering and Events practices

Get advice about Good Food for students