July 1, 2024

Stellenbosch University Champions Sustainable Dining

Stellenbosch University

Food production significantly contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for a quarter of the world’s total. This impact stems from various factors such as farming practices, food processing, fisheries, and crop production, linking directly to the carbon emissions associated with ingredient production.

In light of these challenges, Stellenbosch University (SU) has embarked on a pioneering approach to sustainable dining by collaborating with the Swedish-based startup, Klimato.

This partnership marks SU as the first African higher education institution to adopt Klimato’s carbon footprint software, aiming to instil eco-conscious practices among its staff and students.
The collaboration between SU’s Compliance and Catering Office and Klimato is designed to reduce carbon emissions and enhance sustainable practices within the university’s operations. The use of Klimato’s software is intended to educate the university community about the environmental impacts of their meal choices and encourage more sustainable decisions.

Strategic Initiatives for Carbon Reduction

In 2023, SU’s Compliance and Catering Office reported 806,693 meals booked online, highlighting the need for sustainable food preparation and selection. The partnership’s objectives include demonstrating the environmental impact of various menu options to educate students about the carbon footprint of their meals, thus encouraging informed and sustainable food choices.

SU is committed to refining recipes to produce lower carbon emissions and collaborating with catering service providers to decrease the environmental footprint of meals without sacrificing taste or quality.
The initiative also involves localizing data to enhance the Klimato South African database, aiming for more accurate carbon footprint calculations for meal ingredients and preparation methods.

The university seeks to foster widespread adoption of climate-conscious meal preparation practices within its community and beyond, aiming to inspire similar changes in dining practices across other institutions and organizations.

The ultimate goal is to reduce the carbon emissions associated with the university’s catering services, leveraging sustainable practices and technology to minimize environmental impact.

Bennie Malan, Head of SUNCOM’s Compliance and Catering Office, underscores the university’s commitment to sustainability, emphasizing initiatives that preserve the environment, promote social responsibility, and ensure economic viability for future generations.