The University of Lucerne is taking the most radical approach in this area. Students who want to eat a sausage, a burger or a trout fillet at noon will have to line up at the foodtruck. In the cafeteria, they will only find vegetarian dishes without animal proteins.
This high school made this choice in favor of a change of operator, emphasizing ecological reasons. But not only. This decision also corresponds to customer demand.
Most of the German universities follow the same trend. It must be said that on the other side of the Rösti barrier, vegetarian cuisine has already established itself for a long time. At the University of Zurich, for example, vegans have already had their own canteen for five years. Note that from this year, dishes with meat will become more expensive. Ditto in Basel, which will launch a test phase from the start, indicates the TagesAnzeiger.
In French-speaking Switzerland, high schools and universities are gradually aligning themselves with German-speaking Switzerland. For example, since last year, the University of Lausanne has imposed a weekly meat-free day in its cafeterias. And at the start of the 2022 school year, particularly at the request of students, the offer will put even more emphasis on animal welfare, sustainability and seasonality.
By offering less meat, the universities, as training places for elites, want to set an example. Especially since these institutions are regularly evaluated on their progress in terms of ecology or sustainability.
It must be said that meat production has a heavy impact on the climate. WWF did the math: to produce 1 kilo of Swiss beef, we emit 12 kilos of CO2 equivalent, compared to only 700 grams for the same amount of lentils.
Still, the impact of collective catering on the universities’ overall CO2 balance varies from one institution to another. For EPFL, this represents 22% of the total carbon footprint. Values are calculated based on the number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals consumed on campus. Improving the sustainability of food on campus is now one of the priorities of the Federal Institute of Technology.
At the University of Geneva, which already offers a vegetarian menu every day, cafeterias weigh less than 5% in the institution’s overall CO2 balance according to the results which will be presented shortly. Beef, on its own, weighs less than 1%. Food therefore figures far behind travel or buildings.
The rectorate therefore prefers to bet on the gradual adherence of students to menus that increasingly overlook meat, rather than on its ban, which would ultimately have only a small impact on its carbon footprint.
The difference in the impact of consumption on the C02 balance between the two institutions can be explained in particular by a difference in the typology of the campus, since UNIGE is located in the city, a very large number of users do not eat in the cafeterias. . The volume of meals there is therefore much lower than that of EPFL.