News / Climate change and nature

Major cities commit to climate-friendly food policies

International cities with 64 million citizens, including London in the UK, have committed to using food to address the global climate emergency.

Illuminated globe. Photo credit: Pixabay

Illuminated globe. Photo credit: Pixabay

In a declaration co-signed in Copenhagen on 10 October 2019, the 14 major cities committed to working with their citizens to achieve a ‘Planetary Health Diet’ for all, by implementing the following measures by 2030:

  • Aligning  food  procurement  to  the  Planetary  Health Diet,  ideally  sourced  from  organic agriculture.
  • Supporting  an  overall  increase  of  healthy  plant-based  food  consumption  in  cities  by shifting away from unsustainable, unhealthy diets.
  • Reducing food loss and waste by 50% from a 2015 baseline.
  • Within  two  years  of  endorsing  the declaration,  working  with  citizens,  businesses,  public institutions  and  other  organisations  to  develop  a  joint  strategy  for  implementing  these measures and achieving these goals inclusively and equitably, and incorporating this strategy into their Climate Action Plans.

Each city will develop and share an action plan, including baseline figures and environmental, health, social, and economic co-benefits where available, upon which they will regularly report.

The C40 Climate Cities network that is coordinating the initiative says that eating a sustainable diet and avoiding food waste could cut greenhouse gas emissions from the food we eat by more than 60%. The ‘Planetary Health Diet’ could save 11 million lives each year, if adopted universally, while dramatically reducing emissions and supporting a global population of 10 billion people.

The cities signing the C40 Good Food Cities Declaration are Barcelona, Copenhagen, Guadalajara, Lima, London, Los Angeles, Milan, Oslo, Paris, Quezon City, Seoul, Stockholm, Tokyo and Toronto. These 14 signatory cities serve 500 million meals per year - in schools, hospitals, and other public buildings, and are improving availability and affordability of delicious, nutritious and sustainable food for their 64 million citizens.

Read the C40 cities press release here

Read the C40 cities food declaration here

Read Sustain's new briefing Every Mouthful Counts, on the role of food in city-based responses to climate and nature emergency, as part of our support for the Sustainable Food Cities Network

Published 12 Oct 2019

Climate change and nature: Sustain has taken a keen interest in the rapidly accumulating evidence about the effect of food and farming on climate change and nature, as scientific evidence emerges that our food system is a very significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss.

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