• SDG13,
  • SDG2,
  • SDG3,
  • SDG12,


Published on September 30, 2022 Updated on December 14, 2022
Food represents 8% of Centrale Nantes' GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, i.e. 653tCO2eq . This data for 2019 relates to weekday lunches for students and staff.


The environmental impact linked to food

Food represents 8% of Centrale Nantes' GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, i.e. 653tCO2eq.This data for 2019 relates to weekday lunches for students and staff.

One third of meals are vegetarian. Low-carbon meals (vegetarian, vegan, white meat or fish) represent more than 85% of lunches, emitting 689 tCO2eq per year, i.e. 12% of the school's total carbon footprint. This represents an average of 290 kgCO2eq per year and per person for food at Centrale (lunches + use of cafeteria machines). For information, the emissions of an average meal in France are estimated by the ADEME at 2.04 kgCO2eq, whereas the meals consumed at school emit an average of 1.40 kgCO2eq! More precisely, meals containing red meat emit 44% of the CO2 linked to food at Centrale Nantes, whereas they represent only 13% of the meals consumed.

What are the eating habits on campus?

The students on the Net Zero Emissions specialisation undertook out a study on food habits, and identified the consumption patterns and issues for the different categories of users: students and staff.

Although not all users responded to the survey, the results revealed that:
  • 8% of users identified themselves as vegetarian in 2018, which is higher than the national average of 3%. Vegetarian or vegan dishes represented 43% of lunches (2019 data)
  • 47% of students and 53% of staff bring their own food, while 34% of students (21% of staff) eat at the university restaurant.
  • Users are sensitive to "zero waste" since a significant proportion indicated that they had give up using the Foodtruck to avoid disposable dishes.
  • Food wastage: 39% of university restaurant users say they do not finish their meal.  
  • The primary obstacle to healthier eating is the price.

Catering facilities

Students and staff can eat lunch at discounted prices at the CROUS Le Tertre university restaurant. Vegetarian dishes menu are always available. CROUS foodtruck is present 3 days a week on campus. In addition, experiments are underway with a solidarity caterer, half of whose employees are on back-to-work schemes, supplied through short distribution channels and served in returnable crockery, as well as an association working with the unsold goods of the Nantes MIN to propose a vegetarian service.
The cafeteria is located in building E in the centre of the campus and is equipped with vending machines for snacks.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the CROUS organised emergency relief for students in financial difficulty.

Healthy food: by and for students

The student sports association (BDS) organises an organic apple delivery service and an organic AMAP * system at a discounted rates, in cooperation with local partners.
Vegetables, fruit, eggs and bread are delivered on pre-order to students or staff, outside the school holidays. This initiative gives students living in the halls residence and in the city access to healthy and eco-responsible food.  

In 2019-2020, this accounted for:

  • 305 kg apples
  • 214 fruit baskets
  • 781 vegetable baskets
  • 258 bread and egg baskets
* AMAP (Association pour le Maintien d'une Agriculture Paysanne - association for the preservation of local farming)

A composter for vegetable waste is installed near the student residence. The installation of other composters on the campus is being studied by the Sustainable Development Representatives and the student associations.

Other student projects

The vegetable garden

Centrale Vert has set up a vegetable garden in order to raise awareness among students and staff of alternative agriculture along four lines:
  • Permaculture
  • The use of old and organic seeds
  • Reduced irrigation
  • Mound gardening

Awareness of food waste

Disco soups or participatory cooking workshops of unsold market products have been organised in partnership with students from other higher education institutions in Nantes since 2019.

The AlimenTerre festival

In 2019, the association Ingénieurs Sans Frontières Nantes, in partnership with Oniris organised screenings and debates on food and agriculture, addressing questions such as:
  • Where does the food on our plates come from?
  • What impact do our consumption patterns have on other ecosystems and populations?
  • Can/should we move to food sovereignty?

Solidarity cafés for humanitarian associations

Humanitarian associations on campus such as Récup'Eau Vietnam organise solidarity cafés and sales.
Published on September 30, 2022 Updated on December 14, 2022