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Buy good, do good, feel good

Ethical purchasing and sustainable food

Here at BU, we acknowledge that what we purchase can have significant environmental, social and economic impacts. To reduce these impacts, we are committed to taking a sustainable approach to our purchasing activities. We were proud to be recognised for this work by placing tenth for SDG12: Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2020.

The university has a Sustainable Procurement Policy (pdf 200kb) which outlines how we aim to embed sustainability into all our purchasing. An extension of this is the Sustainable Food Policy (pdf 73kb) which considers the sustainability of food on campus, focusing on supply chains, preparation and disposal of food. We monitor and track the implementation of this Policy through our Action Plan (pdf 189kb).

Sustainable Procurement & Ethical Investment

To implement the Sustainable Procurement Policy BU’s Procurement team work hard to ensure all our suppliers meet strict criteria regarding the environment and the treatment of their workers as part of the tender process. Furthermore, by completing a Life Cycle Analysis, the team identify the environmental and social issues that need to be addressed and promote circular economy. Watch this video to find out more.

BU has published a statement to show how it and its main suppliers are meeting the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 regarding transparency of how people are treated in our supply chain. BU has an ethical investment policy which is available on the policy page.

Sustainable Food

BU's catering partner Chartwells has achieved the Soil Association's Food for Life Silver Catering Award for the catering outlet in our Fusion  Building. This means that the food served is traceable, freshly prepared and locally sourced where possible.

Chartwells implement the following sustainable food practices as part of their contract with BU:

  • Work towards the Soil Association Food for Life certification for their operations at BU.
  • Ensure that all eggs are purchased are from a free-range production system.
  • Ensure that no fish is served that appears on the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) 'red list' and seek to serve MCS-certified fish, maximising the use of fish from the MCS 'fish to eat' list.
  • Ensure that menus change with the availability of seasonal produce with at least two major items per dish served in the season in which they are naturally abundant.
  • Use only 100% Red Tractor Assured meat and dairy products and follow Feel Good Food Days guidance on meat and dairy portions.
  • Purchase 100% organic milk.
  • Use locally sourced produce, such as bread from Long Critchel bakery and Blue Vinny cheese.
  • Water dispensers are available throughout our campuses for staff, students and visitors, and you can see these on the map of our Talbot Campus below.

Chartwells have also recently introduced Honest Bean triple-certified coffee (Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and organic). The team consistently work to improve their offer of freshly prepared, healthy and sustainable eating options by engaging with local suppliers and increasing our ethical food sourcing on Fairtrade products.


Bournemouth University has been a Fairtrade University for over 12 years and has recently signed up to the Fairtrade Foundation and NUS University and College award. Fairtrade products are sold in all outlets across BU. The Fairtrade Steering Group is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Fairtrade Policy (pdf 205kb) and for raising awareness of and encouraging our staff and students to support Fairtrade. 

There are always opportunities to link your assignments to Fairtrade, as Events Management students have found through hosting the ‘Fairtrade around the world’ event. This event aims to promote the importance of Fairtrade, how it benefits the growers and also how easy it is to buy Fairtrade products from flowers to cosmetics, which are now widely available.

BU holds events annually for Fairtrade Fortnight. This year the theme was “She Deserves Fairtrade”. A number of events took place including many discounts across our outlets, a ‘guess how many Fairtrade sweets are in the jar’ competition run by Chartwells, and a talk by Mandy Gardner from the Fairtrade Foundation.

The University seeks to purchase Fairtrade uniforms for its frontline staff such as those working in cleaning, security and catering. Fairtrade clothing is also available in the SUBU shop. In addition, members of staff from BU were involved in supporting Poole and Bournemouth achieve their Fairtrade Town status.

How to get involved

You can check out and enjoy the range of food available across our campus outlets, and the Fairtrade products in our outlets and the SUBU shop on campus.

BU actively works to provide growing space on campus. Campus Collective is a student society which grows food on a local allotment and polytunnel, and you can read more about them and other growing spaces on campus on our Sustainable Campuses page.

BU staff and students support community based food partnerships such as the Slades Farm community project and were a founding member of the Bournemouth & Poole Sustainable Food City network. With the support of the university, groups of students and staff have also found creative ways of working within the confines of the University’s city-based sites to create small food growing spaces including herb gardens and fruit tree areas. BU's research and outputs, such as The Eating and Drinking Well with Dementia Toolkit, also help to create better understanding, support and accessibility to nutritional wellbeing.

Hear from our supplier

The Chartwells team are immensely proud to have been awarded the Silver Standard Food for Life catering mark by the Soil Association on the main food outlet in the Fusion Building. Having this awards means that the majority of food on the menu will be freshly prepared, it will always be free from undesirable trans fats, sweeteners and additives, be cooked by trained chefs, and use ingredients from sustainable and ethical sources."

Shane Wilson – Catering Manager Talbot Campus