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Councils Nationwide Asked To Go 100% Plant-Based As Part Of Climate Action

[clockwise from top left: Bristol, Leeds, London, Nottingham]

  • In the lead up to this year’s local elections on 2/5/24, residents at locations such as Leeds, Bath, Bristol, London, Sheffield, Birmingham, Calderdale, Nottingham and Ashfield unfurled banners calling for the council to take climate action on food by ensuring that all food and drink provided at internal council meetings and events is 100% plant-based [1]. 

  • Some groups called for a meeting with their elected representative to discuss including plant-based catering in Council climate policy.

  • This year, farmers predict the worst harvest since the Second World War due to extremely wet weather as a result of the climate emergency [2].

  • Other UK councils have already made commitments to 100% plant-based catering, such as Exeter City, Oxfordshire County, Oxford City and Cambridge City [3].  

In the lead up to local elections on 2nd May, residents in at least 10 locations have taken action in their local area by erecting large banners outside their council buildings. They demanded their council take climate action seriously by switching to fully plant-based catering for internal meetings and events. Residents across the country have been calling for councils to take meaningful action on reversing the climate and nature emergencies, and at the same time also improving our food security, by capitalising on the advantages of 100% plant-based food.

Sam Wessel, 41, Engineering Manager in Nottingham said:
“The unfolding climate emergency is already having a devastating impact around the world, including disrupting crops and harvests locally. Many councils have already committed to becoming carbon-neutral, but while much of the focus is rightly on fossil fuels, here in the UK around a third of our emissions come from food.
Shifting to plant-based eating is shown to slash food emissions by three quarters, while freeing up land that can be used to restore nature. We’re here making a small ask with a big impact – we want our council to lead by example, showing through its catering that it’s serious about reducing emissions, while also reducing costs and improving the health of residents.”

In 2018, comprehensive research from the University of Oxford showed that 76% of the land currently used for food production would be freed-up by a global transition to a plant-based food system [4]. This land could be rewilded to draw down carbon from the atmosphere, mitigating the worst impacts of climate breakdown.

Plant-Based Councils, an Animal Rising campaign, is a national initiative of local residents who are pushing for their councils to adopt 100% plant-based catering. The group claims that local authorities have a responsibility to follow the current scientific consensus, which acknowledges the environmental, health and financial benefits of plant-based meals over those containing meat and dairy. The campaign is active in around 50 councils, with the group encouraging interested residents to sign up to run a local campaign.


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[1]  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 of the cost of living crisis.   

Oxfordshire County Council votes to serve fully plant-based food at all council-catered events 

Exeter City Council votes to serve 100% plant-based food at catered meetings 

Cambridge City Council votes to serve 100% plant-based food at catered meetings

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