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London Mayor pledges to address climate impact of food

In time for COP26, the Mayor of London has signed the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration, committing to accelerate joined-up food policies across the capital.

Marcus Spiske - Pexels

Marcus Spiske - Pexels

London joins international cities and sub-national Governments including Washington D.C., São Paulo, Scotland and Malmö as an early signatory.

The declaration, initiated by IPES-Food and Nourish Scotland, is part of a concerted effort by many organisations, to ensure food is on the agenda at the negotiations. They aim to use the conference as a springboard for highlighting the huge role that food and farming play in tackling the climate and nature emergency.

Claire Pritchard, Chair of the London Food Board Chair, said, “It is fantastic that the Mayor of London is signing the Glasgow Declaration alongside other city leaders. 

“Governments need to take food emissions seriously to avoid risking catastrophic climate outcomes, and it’s really encouraging to see leadership from London. Our city has a wonderful food culture and now food must help lead a transition out of the climate emergency.”

Food and farming systems are known to be a significant contributor to climate change and nature loss, with over a third of Greenhouse Gas emissions attributable to global food production. Yet national governments are still to set significant targets in this area. The Declaration gives local and subregional governments the chance to place food at the heart of local climate action plans and call on national government to act.

Pete Ritchie, Executive Director of Nourish Scotland added 

“With the eyes of the world on Glasgow, the Declaration sends a message – take inspiration from these local actions and put food and farming at the heart of the global response to the climate emergency.”

Sustain, alongside Sustainable Food Places and others, has been encouraging places up and down the country to get on board with the declaration. To date around 20 members of the Sustainable Food Places network signed the declaration, with many joining the official presentation of the declaration at a COP26 Fringe event. A notable signatory is the London Borough of Tower Hamlets – the first council in London, along with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, to sign the declaration, following significant work in receiving a bronze award for their progress in addressing food issues within the borough.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:

“We welcome the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration – fair, affordable, and sustainable food through the creation of resilient food systems is an important part of driving down carbon emissions. Food production and processes have a large impact on the climate, and this needs to be addressed both locally and on a global scale.

“In Tower Hamlets, we are working with our partners to be a net zero carbon council by 2025 and a net zero carbon borough by 2045. This means supporting local community organisations and working closely with partners across the voluntary sector, businesses, housing, education, and beyond, to deliver a community-led and fair food system that is healthier for both people and the planet.”

The Declaration builds on previous work by the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, the C40, which the Mayor of London has also signed, to recognise food systems transformation as an integrated solution to the climate emergency with co-benefits for biodiversity, ecosystem regeneration, circularity, access to sustainable and healthy diets for all, and the creation of resilient livelihoods for farm and food workers.

 

Signatories to the Declaration in the UK are now being encouraged to move from declaration to action by engaging in Food for the Planet, a new campaign from Sustainable Food Places led by Sustain. The initiative is aimed at lowering the environmental impact of food through local action and is inviting councils to take action by using the online ‘Every Mouthful Counts’ toolkit to identify where big emissions savings can be made through food. Eleven places in the UK have already started to log their progress.

Find out more about the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration, and read about Sustainable Food Places Network  actions to get food discussed at COP26.

 

Published 9 Nov 2021

London Food Link: This is the umbrella for all of Sustain's initiatives in London. Our work includes helping to influence local government policy, hands-on food growing training, running sessions for public sector caterers, creating guidance for independent eateries and food producers, public awareness campaigns, and joining the dots between people around specific food issues. The LFL supporter network is open to everyone who grows, produces, teaches, peddles, promotes and simply enjoys good food in the capital.

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