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Buy good, do good, feel good

Ethical purchasing and sustainable food

BU acknowledges that what it purchases can have a significant impact on the environment, society and economy. To reduce those impacts the university is committed to taking a sustainable approach to its purchasing activities.

The University has a Sustainable Procurement Policy (pdf 211kb) which outlines how we aim to embed sustainability into all our purchasing. An extension of this policy is the Sustainable Food Policy (pdf 181kb) which considers the sustainability of food on campus, focusing on supply chains, procurement, production, preparation and disposal of food. To monitor and track the implementation of the Sustainable Food Policy the University has set out its objectives in the Action Plan (pdf 188kb).

BU was proud to be ranked in the top 15% of universities across the world in the first Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings in 2019 and ranked seventh place globally for our positive actions around sustainable consumption and production.

Sustainable Procurement

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 by using a questionnaire as part of the tender process.

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. By completing a Life Cycle Analysis, our procurement team identify the environmental and social issues that need to be addressed as part of the tender process. They also promote circular economy, watch this video to find out more.

Ethical Investment

BU has an ethical investment policy which is available on the policy page.

Sustainable Food

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

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


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 promoting ideas and activities throughout the academic year to inspire staff and students to support Fairtrade. There are always opportunities to link your assignments to Fairtrade, as Events Management students have found. The event, called ‘Fairtrade around the world’, aims to promote why Fairtrade is important and how it benefits the growers and also highlighted how easy it is to buy Fairtrade products such as cosmetics which are now widely available.

BU holds events annually for Fairtrade Fortnight. In 2018, the theme was “Come on in to Fairtrade”. A number of events and activities took place over the fortnight, including a ‘guess how many Fairtrade jelly beans are in the jar’ competition run by Chartwells, a Fairtrade taste test by SUBU, and many discounts and offers across outlets.

How to get involved

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

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

How does this help BU?

BU is committed to ensuring our supply chains and catering is as sustainable and ethical as possible. Chartwells implement the following sustainable food practices as part of their contract with BU:

  • Work towards Food for Life certification with the Soil Association for their operations at BU.
  • Ensure that all whole (shell and hard-boiled), liquid and dried eggs (if applicable) 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 MSC-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 cheese, such as Blue Vinny.
  • 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.

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.

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 Student Union shop.

In addition, members of staff from BU were involved in supporting Poole and Bournemouth in achieving their Fairtrade Town status.

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