News / Climate change and nature

Strong public appetite for policies to mitigate climate and nature impacts of food

Major market research survey into public preferences for government policies addressing the climate and nature emergency shows overwhelming support for lowering meat consumption and reducing intensive livestock farming.

Soybean intensive farming credit Pixabay

Soybean intensive farming credit Pixabay

A major market research study has found overwhelming public support for government policies aimed to drive down our carbon emissions and address the climate and nature emergency. This includes support for policies to reduce meat consumption and intensive livestock farming systems.

The analysis ahead of COP26, entitled the Climate Consensus and led by Demos, surveyed 22,000 people, reflecting a representative sample of the UK population. The research used a new Climate Calculator to help the public weigh up the impact a number of policies, investment and fiscal interventions including carbon taxes, speed limits, and government investment in transport, energy and farming systems, on driving down emissions. The findings included:

  • 93% of respondents said they back food campaigns and support from government, supermarkets and food companies promoting plant-based diets and cutting meat and dairy consumption by 10%.
  • 79% of respondents support for less intensive farming and paying farmers to improve nature, including woodlands.

Diversifying protein source options and reducing meat from intensively farmed sources locally are two focus areas of the new Food for the Planet campaign, run by Sustainable Food Places. In addition to signing up to the campaign, local authorities can take action by signing the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration and using the Food for the Planet toolkit, while businesses and other organisations can take the Planet Pledge to reduce the climate and nature impacts of the food they serve.

Read the report. 

Published 12 Oct 2021

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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