The European Vegetarian Union (EVU), the umbrella organisation of vegan and vegetarian associations and societies throughout Europe, representing 46 civil society organisations from across the continent, unveils the “Plant-Based Manifesto” in anticipation of the 2024 European elections.
The Plant-Based Manifesto, underscoring the urgency of transforming Europe’s food systems to meet the targets of the European Green Deal and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), was unveiled yesterday at a roundtable event titled EU Food Systems: Tabling Sustainability to Plant the Future. It challenges policymakers with the following targets:
- Establishing targets to increase the consumption of plant protein
- Making sustainable and healthy food more affordable
- Adopting an ambitious Sustainable EU Food Systems Law
- Promoting a just transition for farmers
President of the EVU, Felix Hnat, comments, “Transitioning to more plant-based diets could reduce land use, giving space for nature restoration, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity. It could drastically reduce emissions, water use, and pollution, while leading to substantial health benefits. With this manifesto, we aspire to give not only hope but a realistic path forward, for policymakers, farmers, producers, and consumers.”
Promoting plant-based = supporting farmers
The Manifesto argues that promoting plant-based diets equates to supporting farmers, since “dairy and meat alternatives rely on agricultural production,” and since plant-based entails an “increase in consumption of plant-based produce and protein sources”.
According to the NGO, “Currently, almost all crops used to produce plant-based milk alternatives are grown by farmers in the EU. Moreover, peas, soy, wheat, and even fungi are key ingredients in plant-based meat alternatives, representing a high added-value for European farmers.”
Crucially, the EVU demands equal VAT rates for plant-based alternatives, a carbon pricing mechanism for agriculture, and the development of a Just Transition Mechanism for farmers. Rafel Pinto, Policy Manager at the EVU, explains, “We believe the fight is against climate change, not farmers. Against practices, not people. Moreover, it should be for human and biodiversity well-being, not selected companies or sectors.”
For more information on the “Plant-Based Manifesto” and the European Vegetarian Union, visit: https://www.euroveg.eu/the-plant-based-manifesto/