Charity & Campaigns

Lambeth Becomes First London Borough to Endorse Global Plant Based Treaty

Lambeth has become the first borough of London, UK, to endorse the global Plant Based Treaty in an attempt to cut food-related emissions.

As part of the endorsement, Lambeth Council has pledged to improve access to plant-based foods among residents, with the aim of promoting food security and better health as well as lower emissions. Vulnerable households will receive vouchers to buy fresh local produce, while fruit and vegetable intake will be promoted to children through school activities.

The council will also measure its food-related emissions and work to reduce them; this will include lowering the consumption of animal products at council-run events. Businesses that prioritise sustainable agriculture practices and food procurement will be supported, while council communications channels will be used to promote sustainable food and drink. Additionally, Lambeth Council will work with community groups to establish new green spaces in order to protect biodiversity.

“As a sector, food and agriculture is a leading carbon emitter, accounting for a third of global greenhouse gases. Food is also linked to half of human-induced biodiversity loss and is a decisive factor in the health and wellbeing of citizens. Recognising this, Lambeth Council is endorsing the principles of the Plant Based Treaty and committing to actions that we can take forward as a London Local Authority,” said Cllr Rezina Chowdhury, Deputy Leader (Sustainable Lambeth & Clean Air) and Cllr Jim Dickson, Cabinet Member for Healthier Communities.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan with Plant Based Treaty campaigner Stephanie Cabovianco. © Plant Based Treaty

“Time to take food emissions seriously”

Lambeth is the fourth UK municipality to join the Plant Based Treaty (after Haywards Heath, Edinburgh, and Norwich) and the 22nd worldwide. The treaty has also been endorsed by 120,000 individuals, five Nobel laureates, various IPCC scientists, and more than 3,000 organisations; these include Ecotricity, Linda McCartney Foods, and chapters of Greenpeace, among others.

There is increasing pressure on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to follow suit, after London Assembly Member Zack Polanski wrote him an open letter earlier this year highlighting the role of plant-based diets in combating climate change. Polanski pointed out that while meat makes up just 5% of the food consumed in London (by mass), it is responsible for 27% of household emissions. There have also been calls for the UK as a whole to join the treaty.

“It’s time for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to take food emissions seriously by revisiting the National Food Strategy and taking steps for the UK to endorse the Plant Based Treaty,” said Nicola Harris, communications director at Plant Based Treaty.

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