Monash University’s Faculty of Arts takes responsible catering action

The Faculty of Arts at Monash University has announced today it is switching to more responsible catering for all future staff, student, industry and alumni meetings, conferences and events. Moving forward, the Faculty will offer only vegetarian meals at all faculty-catered meetings, conferences and events as a push to make menus more climate-friendly.

“Scientific research is clear that one of the most impactful steps an individual can take to reduce our environmental impact is to eat less meat and seafood, but this is often difficult for individuals to enact in their daily lives and remains an unachieved goal” said Professor Katie Stevenson, Dean, Faculty of Arts, Monash University. “Our action is a direct response to Monash University’s Impact 2030 Climate Change agenda. As such, at Monash Arts we are looking at our own practices and taking corporate responsibility for making a positive contribution to offsetting the environmental impact of the nature of academic endeavour.”

The Dean confirmed that it is important for the Faculty to make decisions that enable people to do their best work whilst limiting and, where possible, improving the impact of that work on the environment. She reinforced that we cannot be serious about addressing the global climate emergency unless we take a hard look at our own practices and take steps to change our own behaviours. This commitment to reducing and offsetting carbon emissions will form the basis of a Faculty of Arts Environmental Sustainability Action Plan which will be launched in coming months.

“We are not, and will not, intrude on individual choices about what people eat. However, in our action to take more responsible catering decisions, we are enabling people to make better choices that have a positive environmental impact,” continued the Dean. “Individuals retain their right to eat whatever they wish, but our position is that if the University is arranging or providing catering, we will do so without meat or seafood and enable everyone to make a simple change to eat less meat and seafood as part of their overall diet.”

The Faculty recognises this is the first step on a long journey of corporate behaviour change. In addition, the Environmental Sustainability Action Plan that the Faculty intends to launch in the coming months will address other activities that need to be considered, including printing practices, travel habits and digital practices.

Professor Stevenson said “Universities have a significant responsibility to their local and national communities and our corporate standards have widespread influence on ethics and sustainable practices. We hope that the Monash Faculty of Arts can provide a model for other organisations to consider their corporate practices as a positive step to change our impact on our environment.”

Sebastian Schultz, President of the Monash Student Association congratulated the Faculty of Arts on a fantastic initiative. The Monash Student Association has been operating a vegetarian policy since 2022 in a drive to educate students about environmental sustainability.

“The Monash Student Association commends the Faculty of Arts on its decision which helps foreground sustainability and promotes climate literacy to the University community. The Student Association urges other organisations to consider adopting similar sustainable and ethical practices in an effort to reduce corporate carbon footprints.”