On 20/11/23 at the Full Council meeting of Camden Borough, a local resident and campaigner with Plant-Based Councils  gave a deputation urging the council to ensure that all food and drink provided at council meetings and events is entirely plant-based, as the logical and necessary next step after declaring a climate emergency.
Local resident Sam Ebner-Landy said that Camden has the opportunity to lead the way on climate action related to food.
In response, Cabinet Member for a Sustainable Camden, Councillor Adam Harrison, said that the council is keen to make further progress on plant-based catering.
This follows Exeter City Council’s vote last year to ensure that food provided at meetings is 100% plant-based and to promote the benefits of plant-based food, following councils in Oxfordshire, Cambridge and Norwich City.
Camden resident, Sam Ebner-Landy, led a deputation at Camden Borough full Council meeting on 20th November 2023  to emphasise the climate impact of food choices and animal agriculture, and to ask the council to lead by example on the climate action, by ensuring that food provided for future internal meetings and events is fully plant-based.
Sam Ebner-Landy, who spoke on behalf of residents concerned about the impact of our food choices on the climate and ecological emergency, gave the deputation  at the meeting at the Town Hall on Judd Street. He requested that the council follow other councils around the country in promoting healthy plant-based eating as the logical and necessary next step after having identified the impact of meat and dairy on the climate. He said:
“On the council’s own website, residents are told that the number one thing they can do to cut CO2 emissions is to ‘eat less meat and dairy produce. The 2021 ReLondon report states that if Londoners reduce their meat intake by 70%, it would cut London’s consumption-based emissions by 20%. A whole-food plant-based diet is healthy, cheap, and can support local farmers.”
“The solutions are clear. Camden has an opportunity to lead the way on climate action related to food by ensuring that all food provided at internal meetings and events is 100% plant-based. Not only will this reduce the council’s emissions, prevent deforestation and reduce wastage of fresh water, it will also encourage residents to take up plant-based eating habits themselves.”
“Other UK councils have done just this: Lewisham, Enfield, Oxfordshire County, Oxford City, Norwich City, Cambridge City, Exeter City and Faversham and Hythe Town councils. It would be inspiring and reassuring to see Camden pass a motion which addresses the contribution of food related emissions in Camden. And it must include a commitment that all catering for meetings and events will be fully plant-based.”
In his official response as Cabinet Member for a Sustainable Camden, Councillor Adam Harrison said:
“We recognize the major impact that food has on the climate crisis and our research shows that in around 11% of households in Camden, their consumption based emissions are attributable to food and drink, and meat is a huge portion of that so it's a really important factor and what we need to make progress on. It is also a core part of the food mission that we're undertaking as a council.”
“By 2030 the goal is that everybody should be eating well every day with a nutritious, affordable and sustainable diet, so that's what we're aiming for... We've taken a number of steps to address this and support this ambition.
“...in our 5 Pancras Square building for example we provide a range of plant-based meals for staff... Similarly through some of the events that we run we make sure that we're targeting around 50% plant-based options from suppliers and all sustainability
based events have either vegan or vegetarian food by default. I sit on the North London Waste Authority… and we made sure very recently, this year in fact, that that's all plant-based.”
Councillor Harrison concluded by saying he would be happy to meet with Mr Ebner-Landy to discuss what further steps the council could be taking.
The Plant-Based Councils campaign believes that local authorities have an opportunity and a duty to lead the way in normalising plant-based eating, which is necessary if we are to tackle the climate emergency. Councils can reduce their own emissions by procuring more plant-based foods, and can address both the health and cost-of-living crises by encouraging residents to adopt healthier and cheaper ways of eating.
Similar questions have been asked of other councils across the UK and motions have been carried by progressive councils such as Exeter City Council  which, in December last year, voted to serve only plant-based foods at council meetings and events.
Exeter City Council also plans to introduce more plant-based options on to menus at council-run external sites such as leisure centres, and to showcase plant-based foods at external events. This follows the successful motion that was passed at Oxfordshire County Council in 2021 to serve fully plant based food and drink at all catered meetings and events .
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
 The Plant-Based Councils campaign aims to address the climate emergency starting with the food on our plates. Working with councils across the UK to encourage them to lead the way in the switch from emission heavy foods to plant-based ones that are better for health, our planet and reducing the impact from the cost of living crisis.
 Meeting recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JmuZrcCdOA&ab_channel=Plant-BasedCouncils
 Exeter City Council votes to serve 100% plant-based food at catered meetings https://news.exeter.gov.uk/council-pledges-to-raise-awareness-of-the-benefits-of-plant-based-food/
 Oxfordshire County Council votes to serve fully plant-based food at all council-catered events https://news.oxfordshire.gov.uk/plant-based-food/