A new report from WWF says that you can eat for a 2 degrees planet.
The recently released WWF report, “Eating for 2 degrees” calls on the UK Government to collaborate with retailers and farmers to promote the consumption of fruit and vegetables through new healthy eating campaigns.
The report illustrates what it means for our plate to meet our Paris climate commitments and keep the increase in global temperature below 2°C
“What we eat and how it’s produced has consequences for the whole planet,” WWF UK’s food policy manager Duncan Williamson said. “By changing our diet and improving production efficiency in the food system, we can make a major contribution to the impact what we eat has on our environment.
“Now that the Paris Agreement is in force we have binding commitments to reduce carbon emissions, and changes to what and how much we eat as well as how much we waste, will need to be part of the solution. This report illustrates what it means for our plate to meet our Paris climate commitments and keep the increase in global temperature below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels.”
The new report from WWF acts as an update to the organisation’s Livewell Plates report from 2011. One particularly interesting addition is the creation of dietary “plates” for age ranges including brackets for adolescents (10-17), the elderly (65-85) and vegans.
Some might say that there is nothing new here…
The idea is that a “plate” will outline minimal dietary changes needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Some might say that there is nothing new here as the report emphasises eating more plants, wasting less food, moderating meat consumption in favour of vegetable protein and soy, buying certified standards and eating less salt and sugar.
If these guidelines are followed, the report estimates that a 30% reduction in emissions can be achieved by 2030. In the chart below you can see the CO2 impacts (purple) of a meat based diet.
According to Andrew Stephen, chief executive of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), said: “WWF’s original Livewell Plate was ahead of the game when it was published in 2011. It continues to provide simple, straightforward dietary guidance. Being responsible for half of the UK’s spending on food, restaurants and the wider hospitality sector have the power to make a hugely positive impact on the health of the nation and the environment.”
“There are terrific examples from high street to high end, of businesses innovating and responding to the public’s growing appetite for more plant-based dishes. With half of us now identifying as flexitarian, and that number expected to rise by a further 10% this year, there’s never been a better time to offer diners a more varied menu. Throughout August, the SRA will be running its own campaign calling on the whole industry to inspire diners with more plant-based dishes and sharing inspiring examples from those leading the way.”
Business Rising to the Challenge
One interesting collaborative effort is between WWF UK and global catering and facilities firm Sodexo where a vision to improve heath by providing more sustainable meals led to the ‘Green & Lean’ meals program (launched in January 2017) which offers more wholegrains, vegetables and a reduction of fat, sugar and salt to students.
Other corporate leaders in this regard are: Unilever with its recently launched sustainable nutrition manifesto that commits to creating “food that tastes good, does good and doesn’t cost the earth”, and Swedish multinational home appliance manufacturer Electrolux with its creation of The Electrolux Food Foundation which works to tackle global hunger, food waste and responsible consumption challenges.