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Environmental sustainability assessment of the primary school catering sector

De Laurentiis, Valeria (2018)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Current food production and consumption practices are depleting natural resources and polluting ecosystems at a rate that is unsustainable and are one of the main causes of anthropogenic climate change. If this trend does not change, externalities of food production will be exacerbated in future decades due to population growth and increasing living standards. A shift towards low impact diets has been proposed as part of the solution. The public food sector offers tremendous potential for influencing such a shift; however currently in the UK this potential is only partially exploited as national guidelines for public food procurement avoid promoting the adoption of low impact menus. This doctoral research aims at addressing this shortfall by creating a procedure for the design of low impact primary school menus. This is informed by a life-cycle based tool (the Environmental Assessment Tool of School meals, EATS) that enables catering companies and local authorities to self-assess the environmental impact of a meal in terms of its carbon and water footprint, with the purpose of identifying hotspot meals and comparing alternatives in the design of new menus. The data underlying EATS includes the results of a meta-analysis of the existing literature on the carbon footprint of 110 food products commonly used in the preparation of primary school meals in the UK. To validate EATS, a statistical analysis of the underlying data was performed, feedback from its potential users was collected, three case study analyses were developed, and the results provided were compared with existing studies.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Rogers, Chris and Hunt, Dexter
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Department:School of Civil Engineering
Additional Information:

Publications arising from thesis:

De Laurentiis, V., Hunt, D.V.L., Lee, S.E. & Rogers, C.D.F. 2018. EATS: a life-cycle based decision support tool for local authorities and school caterers. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 1-17.

De Laurentiis, V., Hunt, D.V.L. & Rogers, C.D.F. 2017. Contribution of school meals to climate change and water use in England. Energy Procedia, 123, 204-211.

De Laurentiis, V., Hunt, D.V.L. & Rogers, C.D.F. 2016. Overcoming food security challenges within an energy/water/food nexus (EWFN) approach. Sustainability, 8, 95.

Subjects:TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:8183
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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