At lunchtime today my counterpart at the Committee of the Regions, Gerhard Stahl, and I had lunch together in the staff canteen accompanied by a photographer. The photo opportunity was to publicise our truly sustainable canteen. For the rest of this post I shall simply reproduce our joint press release. For the record, we had vegetarian chile sans carne – and jolly good it was too! ‘In 2010 the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions received the “Ecodynamic Enterprise” label awarded by Brussels, putting them in the top category of Brussels-based organisations in terms of environmental performance. By turning their self-service restaurant into a canteen serving sustainable food with a good North-South balance, the Committees live up to their reputation and show the way for all EU institutions. In October 2011 the canteen in the Jacques Delors building had a makeover. The self-service area has been revamped, with new equipment installed and a shiny new set of crockery to brighten up your mealtimes. But what is more important: the food has changed! The Belliard 99 self-service restaurant now offers a varied and balanced menu, with an emphasis on organic products. It pays special attention to the daily consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables and fibre-rich foods produced in environmentally-friendly ways. The canteen uses top-quality fresh produce, offers more homemade-style dishes with a focus on unprocessed ingredients and makes “Recipe cards” available, setting out the ingredients, weights and calories of the food. Sustainable food is healthy and balanced and meets nutritional needs. It is food produced from farming methods that protect the environment, the climate, the soil, water, natural and domestic biodiversity, and the welfare of farm animals. It involves lower energy consumption and generates less waste, with reduced food mileage, less imported products, no out-of-season fruit and vegetables, less packaging, etc. The CoR/EESC canteen uses local, seasonal food, produced by responsible farming around Brussels. Seafood is sustainably sourced (no endangered species, produced by environmentally-friendly means), and food waste and other kinds of waste are monitored and progressively reduced. Last but not least, the canteen sources all products that are not available locally (bananas, coffee, fruit juice, pineapple, tea, chocolate, rice, dried fruit, etc.) from fair trade. This supports providing decent working conditions and promoting a sustainable local economy and fair trading conditions for farmers and workers in developing countries by ensuring that they receive a fair wage for their work. All of this is another good reason to come to the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee in Rue Belliard 99! Every day the 30 workers of the CoR/EESC canteen process 160 kilos of vegetables and serve 650 menus. Since 2010 the canteen has reduced about 39 % of its waste.’