The future of the planet rests on your plate – the coalition driving food systems transformation at COP28

  • COP28 marks the first time in history that a whole day of global climate talks will be dedicated to food.
  • Bringing food system transformation to the heart of the international climate agenda, the Food4ClimatePavillion will sound the alarm on how the food we eat is warming our planet to a perilous level and will call for a transformational shift to plant-rich, balanced and diversified diets.

In a resounding testament to the pivotal role food systems play in the warming of our planet, a whole day of talks will centre around food, agriculture and water for the first time at COP28.

The global food system accounts for more than a third of global greenhouse gas emissions((https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/03/1086822)), but its impact on the environment has long been overshadowed by issues like transport and energy. As awareness has grown, the issue has finally been given a seat at the summit.

Returning to COP for its second year, the Food4Climate Pavilion is one of a kind, dedicated to tackling the overconsumption of meat in the Global North and calling for a transformational shift towards meat alternatives and plant-based diets for the benefit of people, animals and the environment.

Animal sourced foods are significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. With people in high-consuming countries needing to cut meat consumption from ruminants including cows and sheep to roughly two servings a week by 2030 to avoid global temperatures rising to disastrous levels((https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/nov/14/world-behind-on-almost-every-policy-required-to-cut-carbon-emissions-research-finds)), Food Day at COP will be a watershed moment.

Our diets are feeding a global crisis

The global food system has a pivotal role to play in the net zero transition. The industrial rearing of livestock is a major driver of climate change. The large-scale production and processing of animal feed, such as soya and corn, can be the product of mass deforestation, and the journey from industrial farm to plate pumps harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, billions of animals suffer in factory farms and from habitat destruction.

Shifting towards balanced, plant-rich diets, which can have a lower carbon footprint, is one of the most effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and land use from agriculture. Plant-based diets cut the emissions of animal-based foods in half((Xu, X., P. Sharma, S. Shu, et al. (2021): Global greenhouse gas emissions from animal-based foods are twice those of plant-based foods. Nature Food 2(9),
724–732. doi:10.1038/s43016-021-00358-x)), whilst also promoting health and creating the opportunity to safeguard animal welfare.

The Food4Climate Pavilion, led by ProVeg International, World Animal Protection, Upfield and other leading global actors, such as Compassion in World Farming, aims to raise awareness among delegates of nearly 200 countries at COP28 about these climate impacts of the global food system. Key to this is how a shift to nature-positive farming practices and plant-rich diets, including the uptake of alternative proteins, can be essential to reaching net zero.

The Pavilion seeks to mainstream a transition towards diverse and resilient food production and consumption as a key climate mitigation and adaptation solution, by also considering the needs of those disproportionately affected by climate change and food insecurity.

Raphael Podselver, Director of UN Affairs at ProVeg says: “Food has broken through to the top of the agenda because countries have listened to the climate experts and understood the science. We expect real decisions to be taken so that we can unlock the potential of healthy, plant-rich diets and protein diversification, reducing emissions from food systems and improving food security.”

The Food4Climate Pavillion is making promising progress. This year, ProVeg International partnered with YOUNGO and Food@COP to get the presidency to prioritise the availability of plant-based food options at the conference, representing a significant shift in recognition at the UN-level of the relationship between climate change and our food system. As a result, two thirds of catering at COP28 will be plant-based.

The Food4Climate Pavilion is encouraging delegates to join the conversation. It features interactive exhibits, workshops, and presentations that aim to educate, engage, and empower individuals to take action in their own lives and communities.

ENDS

For more information and photos, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Isobel Roberts: [email protected]
Lucy Knowles: [email protected] |
[email protected]

Notes to editors

Further quotes

Susannah Moore, Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications at
Upfield, said COP28’s focus on food presented an opportunity to properly examine
diets and how they need to evolve. “This requires innovation, progressive law-
making, and new incentives to produce and consume food. With this exciting group
of organisations, the Food4Climate Pavilion is well-placed to provide expertise
around the transition that we need to take place.”

Angel Flores, International External Affairs Manager at World Animal
Protection said she was looking forward to working with the Food4Climate Pavilion
partners to ensure emissions from factory farming are elevated on the UNFCCC
agenda at COP28. “In factory farms, caged animals live in unimaginably cruel
conditions and are dosed with antibiotics to stave off diseases, ensuring the mass
production never ends and profits flow. Through the Food4Climate Pavilion, we hope
to open a conversation on transitioning to humane and sustainable food systems –
and ending factory farming. Because there is a better, fairer, and cruelty-free way to
feed the world.”

Debbie Tripley, Global Director of Campaigns and Policy Advocacy,
Compassion in World Farming, said: “Industrial animal agriculture is a significant
driver of climate change so unless we act now to ensure we have more balanced,
nutritious and diversified diets, we won’t be able to avert a climate disaster. The
Food4Climate Pavilion will help attract significant attention to the urgent need to
transform our global food system and begin a just transition towards nature-positive
practices, such as regenerative farming and agroecology that prioritises high-
welfare, climate resilience, and biodiversity protection. We are delighted to be
supporting the Pavilion for a second year and look forward to hostingkey events
there to inform, debate and drive positive action.”

About the Food4Climate Pavilion

The Food4Climate Pavilion is led by ProVeg International, World Animal Protection,
Upfield and other leading global actors, such as Compassion in World Farming. It
represents a unique coming together of private and third-sector organisations who
are putting the urgent need to transform our global food systems at the front and
centre of COP28.

For its second year in a row, the Food4Climate Pavilion will advocate for inclusive,
science-based solutions in bringing about food systems transformation, such as
protein diversification and plant-based food, to reduce the carbon and cruelty
footprint of our food system as we know it.

The Food4Climate Pavilion seeks to make food systems transformation more
accessible to all stakeholders, whether that be farmers, policymakers or ordinary
consumers, whilst also considering the needs of those disproportionately affected by
climate change and food insecurity.

The Food4Climate Pavilion also represents a unique coming together of a diverse
range of private and third-sector organisations. Whilst at COP the Pavilion will serve
as a space to host events and provide a platform for expert discussions with a
diverse group of COP stakeholders on topics such as agricultural climate mitigation
and adaptation solutions.

The Food4Climate Pavilion is also comprised of the following partners: A Well-Fed
World, Humane Society International, the Jeremy Coller Foundation, Mercy for
Animals, FOUR PAWS, the Plant Based Foods Institute, the Buddhist Tzu Chi
Foundation, the Changing Markets Foundation, the Plant-Based Foods Institute,
Topsector Horticulture & Starting Materials, Terrascope, Food Tank, the MENA
Youth Nework, Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD),
International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences (IAAS),
YOUNGO Food and Agriculture, the ProVeg Youth Board, and Impossible Foods.

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