EU must continue climate leadership role post-election, says Proveg

Climate action through food system transformation must be at the center of the new EU mandate

Image source: pixabay.com / Capri23auto

The EU must continue to be a world leader in climate mitigation, and pull out all stops to decarbonise society, reverse biodiversity loss and reduce pollution through the power of food, food awareness organization, ProVeg International, has said.

The NGO’s call comes in the wake of last night’s EU election results which heralds the arrival of a swathe of new, as well as returning, MEPs to the European Parliament.

“A key priority for this mandate is to intensify efforts to implement the European Green Deal and address policy gaps. In this context, the Farm-to-Fork strategy remains unfinished. This was a missed opportunity to establish a comprehensive legislative framework for sustainable food systems. We urge the European Commission to continue to pursue these measures, ensuring that the bloc remains a positive example for climate action to the rest of the world,” Lucia Hortelano, EU Senior Policy Manager at ProVeg, said

“Specifically, we want to see the European Commission put greater emphasis on measures that will facilitate food system change, supporting plant-based food innovation, research into alternative proteins and a subsidy shift to enable farmers to produce healthy, sustainable food,” Hortelano said.

About 80% of EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget is supporting emissions-intensive animal agriculture (1). The amount allocated to support more climate-friendly, plant-based food products remains marginal, even though Europe’s Farm-to-Fork Food strategy demands that more food is produced from plants, and on European soil. 

The Farm-to-Fork Strategy, a flagship initiative of the European Green Deal, is central to driving the transition towards more sustainable and healthier diets in the EU.

“This new legislative mandate will be decisive in ensuring that the EU sets the path towards climate neutrality by 2050,” Hortelano said.

“Plant-based foods have been identified as a super leverage point to reduce carbon emissions so we urge the Commission to focus on strengthening its plant-based food strategy through the policy tools at its disposal,” she said. 

“Impactful measures such as promoting the public procurement of healthy sustainable food and allowing fortified, plant-based milk alternatives under the EU School Scheme will go a long way towards making Europe more sustainable,” Hortelano added. 

Specifically, public procurement and catering can play a key role in accelerating the adoption of healthy, sustainable and plant-forward diets. By prioritizing plant-based options in procurement policies, the EU can promote increased consumer choice , support local farmers, and foster innovation in sustainable agriculture. This approach benefits public health and the environment, and promotes economic resilience within communities.

EU member states already investing in sector

Several EU member states have already invested significantly in food system transformation, most notably Denmark that last year launched a €168m Plant-based Food Strategy. 

Also last year, Germany allocated €38m for alternative proteins in a groundbreaking move to promote plant-based, precision-fermented and cell-cultivated proteins.

In 2022, the Netherlands announced a record €60m of funding for cultivated meat and precision fermentation.

France has also invested in the sector, putting €50m into a social media marketing campaign to increase the consumption of pulses and whole grains. Neighboring Belgium has invested €3.5m in developing cultivated foie gras. 

ENDS

Footnotes

  1. Kortleve, A. J., J. M. Mogollón, H. Harwatt et al. (2024): Over 80% of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy supports emissions-intensive animal products. In: Nature Food 5(4), 288–292. Doi:10.1038/s43016-024-00949-4

Notes to Editors

For media inquiries, email 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.

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