Our CSR initiatives


Guiding Principles

In 2017, the Subway® brand reviewed its Corporate Social Responsibility commitments and initiatives to ensure that they adhered to five guiding principles:

No marketing to children

The Subway® brand does not market to children. Any promotion of the Subway® Kids’ Pak™ is aimed at families and seeks to present different menu options so that parents or guardians can make an informed choice from our range of on-the-go products for their child.

We do not have an online presence targeted at children so no section of our website is for children only. We do not advertise any of our products in computer games. We strictly adhere to the codes of conduct as set out by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Getting families active

In stores throughout the UK and Ireland, employees, customers and members of the public are encouraged to register for the annual Subway® Helping Hearts Family 5k Series, in partnership with leading heart health charity Heart Research UK.

2017 heralds a new partnership to further strengthen the brand’s commitment to getting the nation fit and active, with the Subway® brand joining forces with ‘Sports for Schools’. This programme is aimed at inspiring the nation’s primary school children to get active together with British and Irish Olympians to encourage participation.

Nutritious and affordable menus

Work is underway to finalise a set of New Product Development/reformulation guidelines to future-proof the brand in an environment of ever increasing policy and regulation. The Subway® brand constantly reviews the nutritional profile of all food products, seeking to reduce fat, saturates, salt and sugar across all menu options and provide ongoing improvements without compromising on taste.

In 2017, the brand is piloting low/no sugar beverage trials across the UK and Ireland. One example is a partnership with Public Health England to create new franchise compliance guidance for non-traditional sites in hospitals.

Making a positive contribution within the communities that we operate

Subway® stores form the largest and most successful franchised network of businesses in the UK and Ireland. Almost 60% of Subway® stores are found on British and Irish high streets. This means that Subway® franchisees are well positioned to positively contribute to local communities, beyond running successful businesses that attract greater footfall to high streets, many of which are often struggling.

Many Subway® franchisees engage with their local communities, sponsoring local sports teams and leading on local charity initiatives. These are in addition to the brand’s 5k series and our new programme to support increased sports participation in local schools through our charity partner, Sports for Schools.

Committing to reducing our environmental footprint

We understand that many of our customers want to buy products that support their local businesses and economy and where there are opportunities to buy products locally, we take advantage of them. Where this is not possible, it is our policy to source globally with integrity while delivering great value for money on products for our customers. We currently source the majority of our meat from Europe. When it is necessary to source outside Europe, suppliers must meet all EU standards and laws as a minimum requirement.

We believe in the need to maintain sustainable fish stocks and support the use of independently assessed responsible fishing practices worldwide. Our long-term goal is to work with industry to move to more sustainable practices via several methods including sourcing seafood from independently certified sustainable fisheries, supporting protected areas, and driving progress towards sustainable sourcing. We have already taken significant company-wide measures to achieve this goal. Additionally, where palm oil is used, we always ensure that it is certified as coming from sustainable sources.


Reducing waste and sustainability

We champion a ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ approach to minimise both the waste produced in the business, and the waste generated by our customers.


We aim to reduce food waste to an average of less than 1% per store. We strive to achieve this through the tight operational procedures followed by Subway® franchisees where our ingredients are replenished, fresh throughout the day, only as required.

Behind the scenes, we have been working diligently to improve the sustainability of our products and operations. From streamlining our supply chain and using sustainable sourcing practices, to ensuring our high food quality and food safety standards are met, we not only help to reduce energy, water usage and waste, but we’re taking care of the environment too. Globally, the plants and distribution centres that we use have been strategically located to significantly reduce transportation costs, fuel usage and carbon emissions.


Over the last few years, we have switched to using more sustainable products and business practices that use less energy and resources, and generate less waste. Some highlights include:

  • In the UK alone, we have cut road miles by over 400,000 per annum by adding new depots to the distribution network for food and produce, and bringing them closer to stores
  • Improved the energy efficiency of the equipment used in our stores
  • Optimised packaging of ingredients which has removed at least 650 tonnes of cardboard from our waste stream each year
  • Our cleaning chemicals are non-toxic, non-corrosive and are biodegradable (with the exception of the sanitiser and delimer)
  • We have worked with our pickle and pepper suppliers in Europe to reduce the amount of brine. This means we can ship 29% more product in the same amount of packaging, saving around 47,000 cardboard boxes per year
  • Our napkins are made from 100% recycled material and are fully recyclable


Waste commitments

We are committed to minimising the waste both we and our customers produce. Much of our packaging, including salad bowls, lids and napkins, is made from 100% recycled material and is fully recyclable. For example 100% of the board used in the Subway® branded hot cups is purchased from PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification - UK) approved sources and is recyclable through a specialist waste site.

In September 2013 the Subway® brand worked with WRAP to introduce a programme of improvements to the

sustainability of its packaging and operational procedure. This announcement followed the brand’s move to sign up to the WRAP Hospitality and Food Service Agreement (HaFSA), pledging to cut food and associated packaging waste and increase recycling. The improvements include the following:

  • Hot drinks are served in a double-wall hot cup, replacing the triple-wall hot cup. This is estimated by the company to save 30 tonnes of pulp per year across Europe and takes approximately 25% less energy to produce
  • Sugar stick size has been reduced from 97-82mm which the company estimates brings about a 15% reduction in paper
  • Franchisees are encouraged to serve customers with a reusable basket which reduces Sub Wrap usage by up to 20–30% in stores
  • Reduced bag usage - stores now have the option of using a sticker to seal individually wrapped Subs for takeaway and bags are provided for takeaway purchases on request

Building on this series of improvements, in 2015, the Subway® brand signed up to WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment 2025. This is an ambitious voluntary commitment that seeks to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable over the ten years to 2025 through the following outcomes:

  • 20% reduction in food & drink waste arising in the UK
  • 20% reduction in the Greenhouse Gas intensity of food & drink consumed in the UK
  • A reduction in impact associated with water use in the supply chain

Modern Slavery Act – 2017

The Subway® brand already independently audits its suppliers to ensure that they meet and maintain high standards of food safety, quality and product integrity, and are able to demonstrate traceability throughout the supply chain.


Although the Subway® brand does not yet reach the turnover requirements to be legally obliged to make a statement as required by the Modern Slavery Act, we are taking positive action to ensure there is no Modern Slavery across our business or supply chains. We will be publishing our first annual statement by the end of 2017.

Food Provenance

In addition to our guiding principle on reducing our environmental footprint and food provenance, we believe in the need to maintain sustainable fish stocks and support the use of independently assessed responsible fishing practices worldwide. Our long-term goal is to work with industry to move to more sustainable practices via several methods including sourcing seafood from independently certified sustainable fisheries, supporting protected areas and driving progress towards sustainable sourcing. We have already taken significant company-wide measures to achieve this goal.


All of the eggs that we use are from free range hens. Whether it’s the eggs used in our delicious breakfast Subs, or the eggs used as an ingredient in our products, like mayonnaise, they’re all free range. We were the proud recipients of an award from Compassion In World Farming for our commitment to only using free range eggs in all Subway® products across Europe.

FAQs
Our Customer Service team receives questions everyday from people like you all around the world. We’ve compiled a list of the most popular ones – perhaps these might have some of the answers you are looking for.

Your feedback and questions are important to us so feel free to tell us about your SUBWAY experience. Click on the link below to contact our Customer Service team.
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