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University of Basel

Catering

People are sitting at tables in the Biozentrum cafeteria, eating, drinking and talking. In the background, some people stand at the serving counter.
The cafeteria "Kaffi" of the new Biozentrum (Photo: © Annette Roulier, University of Basel)

Despite limitations created by the pandemic and restructuring, important steps were taken in 2021-2022 to make university catering more sustainable. One example is a test month in spring 2022 in which vegetarian and vegan dishes were priced differently than non-vegetarian dishes. The experiment was very well-received. Overall, the proportion of vegan and vegetarian dishes offered was above 50% across all food service locations. Since fall 2022, there has also been a sustainable alternative to disposable cups on campus.

Restructuring of catering operations

Icons of SDG 8.4 and 12.3
Contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (https://sdgs.un.org/)

Due to the pandemic, operations continued to be closed for parts of 2021, so monitoring of sustainability measures was not possible in all areas. An additional complication was added by the restructuring of catering operations in summer 2022, which meant that three companies were now involved in catering at university locations.1 In order to continue advancing sustainability issues in catering, the 2022 tender for operating university catering services from summer 2023 onwards placed a high value on sustainability, including criteria for strict monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions, seasonality of ingredients and measures for reducing food waste.

Introduction of new cups to-go

Since fall 2022, the University of Basel has had a new deposit system for cups to-go. Coffee and other beverages can now be taken along in kooky cups in exchange for a deposit. They can be easily returned at the numerous return boxes found not only on campus, but also in other areas of the city, for example at the Basel SBB Railway Station. The deposit is then credited back via an app. This system makes it easier to avoid using disposable cups.

Further expansion of sustainable catering options

Despite challenging circumstances, the various operators engaged in several activities and measures to promote a more sustainable product range. Altogether, the proportion of vegan and vegetarian options was over 50% of the dishes offered in all food services locations. In the Bernoulli cafeteria, which is operated by the ZFV, only vegan and vegetarian dishes have been served on Wednesdays since summer 2022. Once a week it also offers leftovers. In the facilities operated by the SV Group, the percentage of goods shipped by air dropped to 0.01%. The percentage of certified meat rose to 72% in 2021 and to 80% in 2022. The percentage of certified fish (MSC/ASC) was at 96% in 2021 and 93% in 2022. 

Goals & actions

Goals 2023/2024
Actions
responsible unit
Goals 2023/2024

Continue to expand the range of sustainable products

Actions

Increase sales of vegan and vegetarian menus by expanding the product range and making it more attractive

responsible unit

Catering Office

Sustainability Office

Goals 2023/2024

Reduce catering-related greenhouse gas emissions

Actions

Communicate CO2 emissions per meal and other sustainability numbers at catering locations in order to raise awareness among guests

responsible unit

Catering Office

Sustainability Office

Goals 2023/2024

Reduce catering-related waste

Actions

Successively increase number of drinking water dispensers in buildings with high student and staff use in order to reduce use of PET and plastic bottles

responsible unit

Catering Office

goals 2021/2022
completed actions
responsible unit
goals 2021/2022

Continue to expand the range of sustainable products

completed actions

Expand the range of sustainable products by increasing the number of certified label products (at least 70% ASC/MSC for fish and seafood, 50% BTS/RAUS for beef/pork, 100% BTS RAUS for veal)2

responsible unit

SV Group

Sustainability Office

goals 2021/2022

Reduce catering-related greenhouse gas emissions

completed actions

Develop a new monitoring system for evaluating the percentage of vegan/vegetarian menus and greenhouse gas emissions caused by catering2

responsible unit

SV Group

Sustainability Office

Footnotes
Footnotes

[1] Whereas the restaurant BaCell’s, the Biozentrum Kaffi and the cafeteria in the University Library continue to be operated by the SV Group, the catering operations in Bernouillistrasse and in the Kollegienhaus (main building) have been run by the ZFV since summer 2022. The cafeteria La Strada in the Faculty of Business and Economics has been operated by Rüstzeug GmbH since mid-October 2022.

Footnotes

[2] Due to the retendering of the catering operations from summer 2023, the actions related to catering have been redefined.

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