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Sodexo introduces carbon labelling for school meals

15 Jul 2022
Sodexo has introduced carbon-labelled school meals at 12 secondary academies in the Oasis Community Learning portfolio following a successful trial earlier this year which saw an uptake in low carbon options such as chickpea curry and white bean chilli.

As a provider of more than 100,000 school meals per day around the UK, Sodexo has a desire to promote sustainable food choices and play an active role in empowering young people to choose more CO2e friendly dishes.

Sodexo carried out a trial using a CO2e labelling application (Klimato) at two academies, Oasis Academy Arena in Croydon and Oasis Academy MediaCityUK in Salford.

Sodexo used the app to calculate the quantitative carbon footprint of each of the main courses on its secondary school menu and has created a traffic light system with ‘low-medium-high’ CO2 emissions labels so the students can see at a glance the environmental impact of each dish.

At both academies the number of students choosing low carbon meals (0.1-0.5 kg CO2e) increased from 78% to 90% in Salford and 71% to 88% in Croydon. The average Kg CO2e was reduced from 0.6 to 0.4 in Salford and from 0.5 to 0.4 in Croydon.  

Steve Hawkins, managing director of schools at Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “We are equipping young diners to make the right climate conscious choices and encouraging them to try low carbon dishes to help minimise damage to our planet. We have worked with Oasis to help educate its students on the impact food has on the environment. In the dining halls we have thought-provoking food facts about high CO2e foods such as beef burgers.

“Sustainability is a high priority for Sodexo and Oasis and together through initiatives like this we are helping make a better tomorrow for future generations. Opting to choose a more CO2e friendly lunch may seem like a small gesture for an individual but when people change their behaviours in large numbers it really adds up.”

According to WWF research, the food service industry is responsible for around 30% of all greenhouse gases emitted around the world.

John Barneby, chief operating officer at Oasis Community Learning, commented: “As an education provider, Oasis Community Learning recognises its responsibility to protect the environment for the current and future generations. We are pleased with the success of Sodexo’s carbon-labelling trial which has been well-received and is contributing to our net zero journey.”