Climate negotiators gathering in Bonn must be served mainly plant-based food, leading food systems NGO insists

Delegates will expect sustainability to be on the menu as well as on the agenda

Negotiators gathering for UN climate talks in Germany in June must be served at least two-thirds plant-based food to avoid any setbacks in the progress that has already been made in aligning the catering with the sustainability goals of these events.

The Bonn Climate Change Conference will be held from 3 to 13 June, 2024 as part of preparations for COP29, this year’s UN Climate Summit, which takes place in Azerbaijan towards the end of the year.

Last year’s summit, COP28, was held in Dubai where organizers ensured that two thirds of the catering was plant-based, provided through a variety of top food vendors. But NGOs are concerned that the Bonn “intersessionals” – the event between the two COPs that lays the groundwork for COP negotiations – could return to catering that is heavy in meat and dairy.

“Great progress was made in ensuring that climate-friendly food was served at COP28, the leading climate conference, last year,” Juliette Tronchon, Head of UN Affairs at ProVeg International, said.

“We want the organizers of the Bonn event to continue this progress of serving mainly nutritious, tasty plant-based food. Delegates will be expecting to see similar, if not higher levels of plant-based food that they enjoyed at COP28. If this doesn’t happen, they’ll be asking why sustainability is on the agenda but not on the menu.” Tronchon said.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has already stated that transitioning to more plant-based foods is vital to tackle the climate crisis

“Menus are an opportunity to literally put climate action on the table, especially at meetings discussing the urgent need to reduce food system emissions,” said Stephanie Feldstein, Population and Sustainability Director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “With the clock ticking on climate chaos, we can’t afford any steps backward, even in food service.”

This message has been picked up by organizers of non-climate related events, such as the Paris Olympics, which starts in July and has boldly stated that a large percentage of the food served will be vegetarian or vegan. 

Animal agriculture is responsible for around 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions (1), as well as widespread deforestation, water usage and the pollution of waterways.

In 2022, the University of Bonn published a paper stating that meat consumption by rich countries needed to fall by at least 75% to avoid ecosystem collapse.

ENDS

Footnotes

  1. Global greenhouse gas emissions from animal-based foods are twice those of plant-based foods | Nature Food

Notes to Editors

For media inquiries, contact Peter Rixon at [email protected].

About ProVeg International 

ProVeg International is a food awareness organization with the mission to replace 50% of animal products globally with plant-based and cultivated foods by 2040. Our vision is a world where everyone chooses delicious and healthy food that is good for all humans, animals, and our planet. 

About The Center for Biological Diversity 

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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