Summary and resources from the joint procurement and waste topic support network
Monday 22 April 2013, hosted by University of Edinburgh
There was a great buzz about the joint topic support network meeting on Food Procurement and Waste as colleges' and universities' sustainability, procurement, catering operations staff came together to discuss the challenges and share their ideas.
The recent horsemeat scandal raised the profile of food quality, provenance and supply chains. New food waste legislation is coming next year and procurement law (Scots and EU) is changing rapidly, yet budgets and operational efficiency are also vital.
We learnt about new legal challenges, policy from the Scottish Government Food Policy Advisor, tools from the new Resource Efficient Scotland team, ideas from Mitie (a waste services contractor) and my colleague Ian Macaulay, Assistant Director (Catering) who has led sustainable food procurement in The Universities Catering Organisation as well as working with resident students to improve healthy eating, with APUC on local sourcing, with staff and students to reduce food waste at Edinburgh.
We now need to collaborate and commit to using contracted suppliers, share learning (what works and what doesn't) and engage academic colleagues and our students, some of whom skip lunch to save money...as well as produce an approach to our food that the SAUDE, EAUC, APUC and NUS Scotland can support. In a world where 1 in 8 people go hungry every day but 30% of food is wasted yet obesity is estimated to cost £0.5m pa to the NHS, and as a Fair Trade Nation with climate change and zero waste commitments, Scotland expects no less. Social responsibility, sustainability, economic and resource austerity AND more healthy eating - surely achievable objectives if HE & FE work together! I suggest joint topic network could plan shared actions.
Written by Karen Bowman, Director of Procurement, University of Edinburgh & Co-Covenor of the Procurement Topic Support Network.