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Ulster University’s Academy Restaurant becomes the first in UK and Ireland to be certified with the prestigious Green Key for sustainability.

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Ulster University Business School

19th Oct 2023

Ulster University’s Academy Restaurant is the first restaurant in the UK and Ireland to be given the prestigious Green Key certificate, for its commitment to sustainability and protecting the environment.

To be certified with Green Key, the Academy has met the more than 60 imperative criteria stipulated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and operates to the high environmental standards expected by Green Key.

Claudia Bogensperger, International Green Key Coordinator at FEE explains: “For us at Green Key International, it is a great pleasure to certify the Academy Restaurant at the Ulster University as our first Green Key restaurant in Northern Ireland! The team of the Academy Restaurant has done an incredible job in implementing our sustainability standards in their establishment, and we are proud to welcome them to our network!”

Located at the University’s Belfast campus, the Academy Restaurant boasts a state-of-the-art restaurant and kitchens. Academy serves for culinary and beverage schools, hospitality and food innovation research as well as conference and meeting facilities.

As part of the Department for Hospitality and Tourism Management at Ulster University Business School its primary purpose is the provision of innovative and immersive education, that enhances students’ skills to prepare them for their future careers. As part of the strategy of educating future leaders of industry, the Academy’s menu showcases local, seasonal ingredients and its operations have a strong focus on sustainability.

Lisa Kennedy, Business Manager at Academy, said: “The team at the Academy are committed to Sustainable Development and aim to bring a balance between meeting the requirements of present day demands in hospitality, while not overlooking the needs of future generations. Obtaining the Green Key certificate is a key indicator of our commitment to embedding sustainable practices and providing the future of hospitality with the knowledge to implement them.”

Academy has implemented many sustainable practices and actions to reduce its environmental impact including:
• Working towards zero-waste by reducing disposable paper food waste during the meal production and consumption processes. The restaurant is also trialling paperless menus, electronic production of receipts and digitalisation of marketing materials.
• Sourcing food locally to reduce its carbon miles and informing about the carbon footprint / food miles of their meals. It also hosts low-carbon food themed events as well as vegan and vegetarian menus.
• Using technology that is energy-efficient and installing water-saving appliances.
• Hosting training programmes for suppliers and other industry stakeholders as well as practical sustainability education in the Academy.
• Academy is committed to creating a sustainability literacy workshop programme and becoming an industry leader in this area.

Academy Culinary Salons return with Chef Conor Spacey
To further enhance the restaurant’s commitment to sustainability, the restaurant is delighted to welcome Conor Spacey, a chef, disruptor and author committed to creating a better world though food, to host the first culinary salon of the academic year on 26 October 2023. Conor is co-author of the Chef’s Manifesto, a focus for collaboration for over 1,200 chefs worldwide who campaign for a more sustainable food system.
Conor recently published his first book, Wasted – a collection of recipes that utilise some of our most wasted food items. The book helps home cooks turn perfectly good ingredients, which are most often discarded, into fabulous, flavoursome dishes.

Delivered in partnership with the Oxford Cultural Collective, the culinary salon promises to be an evening not to be missed, where Conor will be cooking up an exciting menu with sustainably and zero waste at its core.