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No act is ever too small


For us, food is much more than mere sustenance: it is a way to change the world. It’s very important for us to know how far our ingredients have come to reach us and how much we can do to reduce the amount of food waste every day. Our goal is to make sustainable choices as easy as possible. In this way, the world changes one bite at a time.

We say no to compromises. We will compromise neither the ethicality nor the taste of our food. We take our responsibility for the environment seriously – for example by serving the super popular Leftover lunches and offering the option of compensating the meals’ carbon emissions.


UniCafe displays the carbon footprint of all its meals to customers

The carbon footprint of all meals sold at UniCafe is displayed on the menus both at the restaurants and online. The information on the carbon footprint will be shown at the end of the list of ingredients for each dish.

In addition to this, the most climate-friendly main dish, side dish and beverage options have been marked with a Climate Choice label. The carbon footprint of a lunch consisting of options with the Climate Choice label is never more than 0.5 kg CO2e per lunch. This means that the emissions caused by the meal are in line with the 1.5-degree goal set in the Paris Agreement

UniCafe’s carbon footprint calculations are based on peer-reviewed studies. Each recipe was analysed ingredient by ingredient. The climate impact of each ingredient was assessed comprehensively, with the country of origin also taken into account, and the most accurate data on the ingredients’ carbon footprint was tracked down based on peer-reviewed studies.

Leftover lunch

All UniCafe restaurants sell Leftover lunches after lunch time if there is food left over. Leftover lunches are sold in a 7.5 dl box. You may also take your own reusable box with you.

Leftover lunches cost €3.00 when bought in UniCafe’s take-away box and €2.70 when bought in the customer’s own box (approx. 7.5 dl).

We sell warm lunch food, side dishes and salads from the side dish salad table, as well as the salad bar ingredients on Fridays (excl. Ylioppilasaukio).

Leftover lunches do not meet the conditions for Kela’s meal subsidy, so it is not possible to get a student discount for them.

The purpose of leftover lunches is to reduce food waste.

Compensate – the carbon footprint compensation model

We here at UniCafe want to be among the first to offer solutions to mitigate climate change. You can compensate the carbon footprint of your lunch whenever you wish, at every UniCafe.

We believe that doing things for the environment every day should be made easy. That’s why we use Compensate.

Together with Compensate, we can offer you easier methods to take care of the well-being of the environment. We further the completion of the carbon negativity goal through co-operation. You too can take part in mitigating climate change by continuing to dine at UniCafe in the future.

Through Compensate, you may compensate the carbon footprint of your meal in an easy and trustworthy way:
  1. Mention that you want to pay the compensation payment at the counter
  2. The full amount of the payment will be delivered to carbon sink projects
Compensation fees by meal type:

Meat & chicken meals €0.15 | Fish & vegetable meals €0.10 | Vegan meals €0.05


The food waste of the entire restaurant industry in Finland is as much as 75–85 million kilos per year. About one fifth of all restaurant food in Finland ends up as waste.

We are committed to minimising the amount of biowaste in our restaurants by developing new strategies together with our customers and staff. We use biowaste scales daily to measure the amount of waste from our customers in every restaurant and we communicate to the customers weekly about the daily amounts of waste.

The following are examples of the ways in which we attempt to minimise the amount of biowaste, both that produced by us and that produced by our customers:

  • Improving menu planning
  • Participating in food waste campaigns
  • guiding and directing our customers to proper sorting
  • communicating about the amount of biowaste created by customers
  • communicating to our customers about the goal of reducing biowaste

We have set restaurant-specific limits for amounts of biowaste (grams per customer) and we monitor whether we achieve these goals on a monthly basis.

In cooperation with

Stairs to Organic

Stairs to Organic is a program designed for private and public food services that helps professional kitchens reach their organic targets as part of sustainable development activities. UniCafe has partaken in the Stairs to Organic program since 2013. We systematically increase the number of organic products in our restaurants, and nowadays, the selection covers about 200 products.

Certified responsibility

UniCafe has met the standards of the ISO 14001 environmental management certification as well as the ISO 9001:2008 certification for quality management systems. Here at Ylva, we follow the realisation of responsible operations with several different indicators and external auditing. Our partnerships include WWF Green Office, UN Global Compact and Bureau Veritas.


The Finnish Hospitality Association MaRa (Matkailu- ja Ravintolapalvelut, MaRa) is a lobbyist for employers and labour market association in the restaurant business. Their activities promote the operating conditions of the companies in the field as relates to the area of industrial politics and influences the development of the appeal and appreciation of the field.

UN Global Compact

We are committed to abiding by and promoting Global Compact’s ten principles of responsible business operations within the sectors of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.


FIBS is the leading corporate responsibility network in Finland. By participating in its operations, we are utilising our knowledge of trends, best practises and tools related to corporate responsibility. We are here to learn and come up with new ideas in order to promote responsible business operations.

Zero Accident Forum

Since 2007, UniCafe has been the first restaurant business to attend the Zero Accident Forum of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. We learn from all accidents and close calls by going through the events with the personnel and making agreements about changing procedures. This is done in order to chart the risks included in our activities and to prevent accidents in the future.

WWF Green Office

Since 2006, we have employed the Green Office environment system. Sorting waste efficiently, promoting energy efficiency, using environmentally friendly office supplies and procedures, compensating for electricity use and air travel – all these are actions we have taken.

Quality and environmental policy

UniCafe’s quality and environmental policy abides by legislation and other regulatory provisions along with good practices. We realise our basic mission in our operations, paying attention to our values: dynamism, sustainability and responsibility.

Our activities are guided by

  • HYY’s Ownership Strategy
  • Ylva’s business strategy and
  • the restaurant business strategy.

In the Ownership Strategy document, the Student Union wants to lead by example and show that business operations can be conducted in a socially, culturally and environmentally responsible manner without compromising the quality and productivity of the operations. According to the goals of the Ownership Strategy, Ylva Palvelut Oy practises environmental responsibility.

Mitigating the effects of climate change in our own operations as well as by influencing the surrounding society is the starting point for executing Ylva’s environmental responsibility in practice. All acquisitions have environmental effects as a criterion, and our operations aim to minimise the amount of waste created and to maximise recycling.

Ylva exercises its social responsibility by listening to its customers and developing its operations according to their wishes. Ylva promotes the equality among its personnel in the manner specified in its equality programme and involves the employees in activity planning. Ylva cooperates with partners and sub-contractors that operate responsibly.

Cultural responsibility is being executed as profit distribution to HYY to enable multi-faceted student culture and lobbying operations. Ylva takes care of the Student Union’s buildings and properties with cultural-historical value. Promoting Finnish food culture is part of the cultural responsibility exercised by the group.

Ylva reports on its responsible operations on its website, intranet and in the meetings of the company and the Board. External commitments, such as Global Compact and Green Office, also affect which matters need to be reported.

UniCafe restaurants abide by the ISO 9001 quality management system that includes the ISO 14001 environmental management system. With the help of the quality and environmental management systems, we develop our operations in order to respond to customer demands. We have defined concrete quality and environmental objectives which operate on different time frames. We are committed to supervising their development and we follow the principle of continuous improvement in our operations. We abide by the environmental legislation and other regulatory provisions, as well as good practices.

In the environmental management system, we accept the expenses  caused by the environmental concerns in our profit target. We prevent effects that are dangerous and detrimental for health and environment, and we require our service providers and suppliers to commit to our environmental principles and objectives. The environmental criteria are included in the acquisition criteria.

The realisation and development of environmental matters will also be monitored by different interest groups in the reports on Ylva’s responsible operations at the group’s website.

Every restaurant and support service has an environmental agent who promotes environmental matters according to the objectives, aiding the restaurant manager/shift manager.  Every employee is, for their part, responsible for the realisation of the environmental objectives and is obligated to abide by our procedures and to give feedback on errors and exceptions in order to fix them.

We act responsibly and report of our operations transparently. We respond to the goals set by the owner. We are an encouraging, supportive work environment for the employees and the owner’s representatives. We appreciate our personnel and enable them to develop and acquire the necessary education for becoming top professionals in their field.

The realisation and feasibility of the quality and environmental policy is regularly controlled in steering group meetings.

The Executive Team of Ylva has approved the quality and environmental policy for 2022 on 16 February 2022.