Sustainable lunches firmly on the menu

Sustainable lunches firmly on the menu

IES aims to continue to increase sustainability throughout the organisation and suppliers are being encouraged to find new ways of working. One example at IES Sundsvall facilitates sustainable meal choices, by CO2 labelling all meals served.

Student Rand Almilah (pictured above) has always had a choice of lunches in her school restaurant, but now she can also easily choose a dish which will have less of an impact on the planet.

IES Sundsvall is using a new system meaning that each dish is clearly labelled with the size of the carbon footprint it has produced.

‘How much CO2 is on your plate?’ the menu asks, and next to each meal is a value in kilograms, and an icon, to give a quick idea if that is a dish with a high, average or low impact.


For Rand, a student council member with responsibility for health and the environment, making an informed decision to eat in an environmentally conscious way matters.

“I think that it’s really important because a lot of things are happening to our climate, and I think it’s important to make a change.” She said.

“When our school starts thinking about it, then students and teachers start to notice it and think about it too.”

For several weeks the new menus have been in place, and now the caterers have started talking about them with the students, explaining what the values mean, and the benefits of a sustainable lunch.

Åsa Ingemarsson (pictured, right) from the school’s caterer, Mitt Gastronomi, said: “It is so exciting, and the children are excited too. We love food and we want the children to learn to love food.

“The children like it a lot and if they have already chosen to eat vegetarian then they are very proud that they took this decision. We start a thought process in the children with this as well.”

Even choosing between different meat dishes can have a different effect on the planet.  Åsa explains: “We served falukorv sausage. If you chose ordinary falukorv that had a value of 0.7, if you took the beef one then it was 3.6, the vegetarian one was 0.1; so there was a big difference. You don't have to eat vegetarian food every day, you can decide, and I think that is cool.”

The new menus are just the latest step the school kitchen has taken to increase sustainability.  They also put a lot of focus on not wasting food.  The amount of waste is regularly measured, and children are reminded that they can go back for seconds, so they don’t need to overfill their plates on the first pass.

Food is an area where Internationella Engelska Skolan has continuous discussions with suppliers with an aim to to minimise food waste while providing healthy, nutritious and sustainable options.

But does the new system actually work? Rand believes so.

“I really do think that students and teachers start noticing it and thinking, ‘Maybe I should start choosing meals that release less carbon dioxide.’ When they can actually see how much of an impact their meals have, they can start making that choice. People need to see how much of a change they can make.”