Climate protection in school kitchens

In a nutshell

The aim of this tool is to motivate climate protection measures and to improve education about them in school kitchens. This encompasses the climate impacts of food procurement, cooking and consumption, such as deforestation, use of artificial fertilisers, methane emissions from ruminants, emissions from transports and the cold chain, and waste management policies. The tool suggests 19 different measures, such as changing menus to encourage plant-based eating, improving kitchen technology and waste management, and training kitchen professionals about improving workflows. To implement these measures, catering businesses and public organisations must make a number of decisions and investments. The tool aligns strongly with EU policies for climate protection, the circular economy, and energy efficiency targets.

Necessary Steps

The main measures suggested in the training materials can be summed up as follows (with measures 1, 3, and 6 being the most important change-makers):

A) Food selection:

  • Measure 1: Climate-optimised menu plan through the substitution and reduction of meat
  • Measure 2: Weekly substitution of a meat dish by a vegetable dish
  • Measure 3: Partially or completely replace milk and dairy products with plant-based alternatives
  • Measure 4: Partially replace rice with spelt
  • Measure 5: Use climate-friendly packaging
  • Measure 6: Drink tap water
  • Measure 7: Use more organic food
  • Measure 8: Pay attention to seasonal and regional products

B) Technology:

  • Measure 9: Use efficient freezers
  • Measure 10: Use efficient refrigerators
  • Measure 11: Use cooling instead of freezing
  • Measure 12: Be able to use convection ovens and cooking appliances efficiently
  • Measure 13: Upgrade to LED lighting
  • Measure 14: Use efficient dishwashers

C) Behaviour:

  • Measure 15: Efficient dishwashing
  • Measure 16: Switch off freezers and refrigerators during holidays
  • Measure 17: Care and maintenance of refrigerators and freezers
  • Measure 18: Switch off stand-by devices

D) Waste:

  • Measure 19: Waste management

More Issues To Consider

  • The tool uses the results from “KEEKS - Climate and Energy Efficient Kitchens in Schools”, a German project which received a UN Momentum of Change award. In this project, the implementation of all the recommended measures achieved an emission-saving potential of more than 40%.
  • This tool presents a wide range of measures which will, however, take time to implement, such as the introduction of new menus and purchasing of equipment.
  • The most important aspects of change are measures numbers 1, 3, and 6.
  • To better explain how to implement these measures, training materials, cookbooks, videos, and an exhibition are provided (in German).
  • Decisions at the level of the organisation are required regarding the acquisition of more energy-efficient equipment, in line with decisions regarding cooking or manufacturing methods.
  • Ways of working can be changed through the transfer of knowledge and education quickly, easily, and relatively cheaply.

Further Information

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