Local authorities have been urged to put food at the centre of their sustainability plans by reducing the carbon footprint of their meals.
The call came from the Eating Better alliance which this week launched a new guide detailing how local areas and public sector organisations can shift to serving more sustainable food.
The guide shows how simple menu changes can positively impact health and sustainability outcomes with a particular focus on serving more vegetables and plant proteins and ‘less and better’ meat and dairy.
Local authorities are being encouraged to deliver a 25% reduction in the volume of meat and dairy served in council-controlled settings by 2025, and for 25% of meat and dairy served to meet ‘better’ animal welfare and environmental standards by the same year.
“We cannot tackle the climate and nature emergencies and secure a future for next generations, if we don’t tackle food,” said Elena Salazar, policy and knowledge manager at Eating Better. “Local authorities can drastically reduce the carbon footprint of meals under council control, if they put food at the centre of their sustainability plans: with the challenges we face, every meal counts.”
Eating Better said reducing meat and dairy consumption would help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions’ footprint of our diet. It cited evidence showing that if everyone in the UK adopted a diet in line with the government’s Eatwell Guide, estimates show dietary emissions would fall by 45%, water use by 4% and land use by 49%.
In related news, a coalition of civil society groups and businesses launched a new organisation this week with the aim of promoting plant-based food and drink.
The Plant-based Food Alliance UK is backed by Alpro, Oatly, ProVeg UK, Upfield and The Vegan Society.