Sustainable events - food and drink

Choosing sustainable food is one way to reduce environmental impact and contribute to sustainable development. 

Choose plant-based food

How we grow, get and eat our food is a major driver of climate change. Animal agriculture puts a lot of stress on the environment, using many natural resources and producing large amounts of methane. The U.N. report "Climate Change and Land" states that “a shift toward plant-based diets” is one of the most significant ways to reduce greenhouse gases from the agriculture sector.

Choose organic food

The environmental impact of agriculture and food production involves green house gas emissions, land use, fresh water use and biodiversity. According to The Food and Agriculture Association (FAO) of the United Nations, the agricultural sectors can contribute to important ecosystem functions. These include maintenance of water quality, nutrient cycling, soil formation and rehabilitation, erosion control, carbon sequestration, resilience, habitat provision for wild species, biological pest control and pollination. 

Organic farming contributes to several of the environmental objectives by using less pesticides, contributint to a toxic-free environment and promoting biological diversity.

Choose seasonal food

Un-seasonal food requires energy to grow, refrigerate or freeze as well as transportation. Seasonal foods are often cheaper to produce and buy, more tasteful and contains less additives. Going seasonal will also provide a variety of foods.

Chose unprocessed food

Refrain from ultra processed food products (UPPs) and sugar sweet beverages (SSB). UPPs are high in added sugar, salt, saturated and trans-fat and additives and have little nutritional value. 

The consumption of these products is linked to non-communicable diseases. The production of SSB is not only unhealthy but highly unsustainable. Studies show that foods associated with improved health also often have low environmental impacts.

Choose Fair Trade

Fair Trade certified food is produced with high social and environmental standards. By choosing Fair Trade you contribute to reduced environmental impact such as deforestation as well support sustainable farming in developing countries.

Choose food catering supplier within KI frame agreement

Liaise with the caterer to provide a sustainable menu, snacks or fika. Consider the waste that the catering is going to generate and try to minimize that as much as possible.

Food waste

  • Plan the menu wisely. Refrain from over-ordering - estimate the number of participants. Providing food that is prepared but not served may reduce waste. Serving smaller, bite-sized passed hors d’oeuvres is another way.
  • Communicate with your attendees about food waste before, during, and after your event.
  • Offer left overs to the participants at the end of the event.
  • Reduce waste - minimize packaging and single use items
  • Use reusable cutlery and crockery. Choose biodegradable items, rather than disposable plastic items.
  • Refrain from individually wrapped items.
  • Provide finger food to minimize waste from service ware.


Refrain from bottled water which requires packaging and transportation. Provide tap water in reusable glass jars.


  • Emphasize the sustainability commitment of the event by providing non-alcoholic beverages.
  • As employer and university KI has, together with employees and students, a responsibility to promote a drug free work and study place.
  • Alcohol is an obstacle to achieving 12 out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through its multiple public health, social and economic impacts.
  • Alcohol is one of four major risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs). There is a causal relationship between alcohol use and a range of mental and behavioral disorders, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, as well as injuries.
  • Alcohol is specifically mentioned in SDG 3 on health and well-being. Target 3.5 reads: “Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol”
  • The environmental impact for different types of alcohol relates to the farming, which involves fertiliser use, water use and biodiversity impact. The manufacturing requires large amounts of energy. Packaging, storage and transportation are other areas of impact.
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