Goldsmiths University of London will remove all beef products from sale across its campus after pledging to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2025.
The university’s new warden, Professor Frances Corner, has introduced the beef ban, which will be in place when students return next month, alongside a series of changes.
However the NFU has said that “singling out one food product is clearly an overly simplistic approach” to one of the greatest challenges of our time.
It added: “The main issue with this is the lack of understanding or recognition between British beef and beef produced elsewhere. Our standards of beef production in the UK are among the most efficient in the world, with British livestock grazing in extensive, grass-based systems – meaning a greenhouse gas footprint 2.5 times smaller than the global average.”
Other measures to be introduced by the university include a 10p levy on bottled water and plastic cups, investment in the campus’ allotment area, the installation of solar panels, switching to a clean energy supplier and ensuring the curriculum offers students the chance to investigate climate change.
Goldsmiths catering contract is held by Chartwells, the education arm of Compass Group UK & Ireland.
Corner said: “The growing global call for organisations to take seriously their responsibilities for halting climate change is impossible to ignore. Though I have only just arrived at Goldsmiths, it is immediately obvious that our staff and students care passionately about the future of our environment and that they are determined to help deliver the step change we need to cut our carbon footprint drastically and as quickly as possible.
“Declaring a climate emergency cannot be empty words. I truly believe we face a defining moment in global history and Goldsmiths now stands shoulder to shoulder with other organisations willing to call the alarm and take urgent action to cut carbon use.”
The university produces about 3,700,000 kg of carbon emissions each year – a figure which has reduced almost 10% over three years.