UK Universities

United Kingdom: Several UK universities removed beef, lamb and dairy from their menus following a major study by scientists from the University of Oxford, which showed that meat and dairy use 87 percent of farmland and produce 60 percent of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions while only providing 18 percent of calories and 37 percent of protein. [1]

University of Cambridge

    • In October 2016, the university’s catering service replaced red meats with plant-based products. As a result, “overall carbon emissions across UCS were reduced by 10.5%. There was a 33% reduction in carbon emissions per kilogram of food purchased, and a 28% reduction in land use per kilogram of food purchased.” [2]
    • Professor Andrew Balmford (Conservation Science at the University of Cambridge) reported that the initiative had “dramatically reduced their environmental footprint.” Prof Balmford advised the catering service on the changes, observing, “It is hard to imagine any other interventions that could yield such dramatic benefits in so short span of time.”
    • Project lead Dr. Emma Garnett led the sustainable food initiative and reported that  that their “Sustainable Food Policy in 2016 … cut their carbon and land footprint of the food served by one-third, so this was a huge success.” She co-authored the journal article “Impact of increasing vegetarian availability on meal selection and sales in cafeterias” (PNAS 116:42, 2019).
    • Nick White, Head of Operations for the University Catering Service said: ‘This has involved making sacrifices, but is has been absolutely the right thing to do. It’s about making the right choice easy.’”
    • Read more in the excellent summary –  Cambridge: “Our Sustainable Food Journey
    • Reducing an Organisation’s Footprint.” In this video from University of Cambridge’s Earth Optimism event (30 March, 2021) Emma Garnett, Amy Munro-Faure and Nick White describe their process and successes:

Three University pioneers set out how they’re transforming the footprint of an 800 year-old institution. Focusing on food, Amy, Nick and Emma will explain how science, cookery and smart business-sense came together to make a real difference.

Cambridge Links:

University of Cardiff

At the University of Cardiff, 50% of items on campus eateries’ menus are vegan, and the university plans to expand on this each year as part of its sustainable food policy. Tantalising vegan dishes include BBQ jackfruit bites and salted caramel cake with dairy-free whipped cream. The Green Shoots Cafe is fully vegetarian and serves vegan options, and the university promoted World Vegan Month 2021 with vegan events including cookery demonstrations, food giveaways, and a three-course dinner.

View Cardiff University’s “Sustainable Food Policy” (PDF)

See also Professor Kevin Morgan (Geography) and work in healthy, sustainable food systems in schools

London School of Economics (LSE) 

(See “London School Of Economics Ditches Beef To Tackle The Climate Crisis,” Feb. 24, 2020).

University of London

(See Amy Walker, “Goldsmiths bans beef from university cafes to tackle climate crisis,” The Guardian, Oct. 12, 2019.


[1] J. Poore and T. Nemecek, “Reducing Food’s Environmental Impacts through Producers and Consumers,” Science 360 (2018).

[2] “Removing beef and lamb from menu dramatically reduces food-related carbon emissions at Cambridge University,” University of Cambridge, Sept. 10, 2019.