Sustainable suppliers at Heriot-Watt

While queuing up for your lunch do you ever consider the story behind the food you’re eating? 

The chips served on campus are locally grown and supplied by perhaps one of the greenest fruit and veg suppliers in the UK. We took a trip over to Ivan Wood and Sons Ltd in Fife, home to Woody’s Chips and supplier of fruit and veg on campus.

Malcolm Wood is a man on a mission, with bundles of enthusiasm, good humour, lots of energy and a genuine interest in being green. Forward thinking and innovative; sustainable energy, recycling and working with local suppliers are his priorities. “Being green is the right thing to do, we are reinvesting in the future.”

Solar panels sit across the warehouse roof, his prize borehole supplies spring water and the delivery vans run on biodiesel. All peelings are fed to livestock on a local farm and the wooden pallets and packaging is recycled. “We try to be as green as possible and maintain our high quality produce and service.”

Improving business

Malcolm is always looking for new ways to improve his business and will install a multifunctional biomass system at the end of the year that will heat the offices in winter and supply hot water for a tasty fresh vegetable stock, which he will make from leftover trimmings. All this from burning broken pallets.

Malcolm believes in the importance of supporting local businesses. “You’ve got to help small farms or they’ll disappear; we don’t want to lose their expertise.” This is a mutually beneficial relationship, more so than might be offered by the big supermarkets. “I pay quickly every week and give a good price so they save me the bigger and better stuff.”

Thomas Day, Head of Hospitality Services tells us that sustainability is a key factor when choosing a new supplier. He uses local suppliers where possible – fish is from Ranaldi’s in Edinburgh and beef is from John Henderson’s Butchers of Glenrothes in Fife. Buying locally means full traceability. “We can find out which boat the fish is from or which farm gave us beef.”

Did you know?

  • Hospitality Services has saved 1 million litres of water a year for the past two years by using water efficient kitchen equipment. • All tea and coffee served by Hospitality Services on campus is Fair Trade or from Rainforest Alliance approved sources.
  • Hospitality Services run the only electric vehicle on campus.
  • The KeepCups that are available on campus have been introduced to help reduce the 200,000 disposables that currently go to landfill from the Edinburgh Campus.