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Why did we switch to oat milk?

At Students' Union UCL, we're trying to minimise the impact our operations have on the planet. Coffee is the bestseller across our catering outlets and milk accounts for the biggest proportion of a coffee’s environmental impact - this is why the milk we serve in our coffees is a high-impact area to address.

Oat milk in general offers a range of nutritional benefits, its production requires less water and land use, and emits less greenhouse gases than dairy and soya milks (Poore & Nemecek 2018).

Choosing a 'soft default' approach to oat milk in our cafes means we serve more hot drinks with a substantially lower carbon footprint, while still leaving customers the option to opt for dairy milk. This creates opportunities for raising awareness and shaping a behavioural change among the campus community for more sustainable outcomes.

Milk accounts for the vast majority of a takeaway coffee's footprint
(VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland)

Why Minor Figures?

There are many oat milk brand out there. We chose Minor Figures: a London-based oat milk manufacturer which is certified carbon-neutral. This means that, by substituting dairy milk with Minor Figures oat milk, we are cutting the emissions of our latte by around 70%. (Bring your reusable cup, and the emissions of that latte would be reduced by another 5%!).

What is more, Minor Figures:

  • use no GMO oats sourced from UK and North Europe
  • are an independently owned startup
  • donate oat residue to lifestock feed to minimise waste
  • are B Corp Certified
  • are better than Fairtrade: guaranteeing a living wage (not just minimum wage).