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Islington residents petition council to switch to 100% plant-based catering





  • On 29/2/24 at the Full Council meeting of Islington Borough, a local resident and campaigner with Plant-based Councils presented a petition signed by more than 30 residents urging the council to ensure that all food and drink provided at internal council meetings and events is entirely plant-based, which is an essential step in addressing the climate crisis [1] [2] [3].  

  • Local resident Kristina Zeljic said that Islington has the opportunity to lead the way on climate action to address the environmental impacts of our food [2]. 

  • This follows a public question to Full Council in March 2023 where the council was asked to switch to plant-based catering to address the climate and ecological emergencies [4].

  • Other UK councils have made commitments to 100% plant-based catering, including  Exeter City, Oxfordshire County, Oxford City and Cambridge City Councils [5].  


Islington resident Kristina Zeljic presented a petition at Islington Borough’s Full Council meeting on 29th February 2024 where she outlined the impact of meat and dairy compared with plant-based foods on the climate and ecological emergencies [3]. She said:

“Last year we saw devastating wildfires, extreme heat, and mass migrations across the world driven by global heating. According to research from Oxford University, switching to a fully plant-based diet is the single most effective thing an individual can do to reduce their environmental impact. We are asking the council to acknowledge the devastating impact that dairy has on the environment.” [2]


Ms Zeljic went on to say “Islington has an opportunity to lead the way on innovative climate action by ensuring that all food provided at internal meetings and events is 100% plant-based. This will not only reduce the council’s carbon emissions, prevent deforestation and reduce wastage of fresh water, it will also set an example for residents.” [2]


After the meeting, Maria Wood, also a resident of Islington, said:

The council can lead by example by showing its residents that plant-based food can be delicious, nutritious and low cost. Plant-based catering is a necessary next step for the council, and it would be inspiring to see Islington take it on.”


The council will provide the petitioners with a formal written response at a later date.


This follows a question from a member of the public in March 2023, where the council was asked to commit to serving fully plant-based fare at catered meetings and events, bringing its food policy in line with other climate-aware policies [4]. Councillor Rowena Champion responded to the question by saying “I am happy to investigate this possibility in the future.” [4]


In March 2023 Councillors at Oxford City Council unanimously supported a motion which would ensure that all food provided in internal catering is plant-based [5]. The council will also work with local farmers to support their move to create more plant-based produce, and establish a free plant-based food service, to help tackle the cost of living crisis. 

A successful motion was passed at Oxfordshire County Council in 2021 and Exeter City Council in 2022 to serve fully plant-based food and drink at all catered meetings and events [5]. 


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 cost benefits of plant-based meals over those containing meat and dairy. The campaign is active in over 45 councils, with the group encouraging interested residents to sign up to run a local campaign.


ENDS.


Word count: 592


For more information or further comments, please contact press@plantbasedcouncils.org


NOTES TO EDITORS:


[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.   



[3] Petition ‘Islington needs fully plant-based catering to reach climate goals’  https://chng.it/sjpVdSqF6X


[4] Public question by Louisa Hillwood March 2023: https://democracy.islington.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=29939


Oxfordshire County Council votes to serve fully plant-based food at all council-catered events  https://news.oxfordshire.gov.uk/plant-based-food/ 

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/ 

Cambridge City Council votes to serve 100% plant-based food at catered meetings https://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?ID=5423




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