When it comes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, not all food is created equally; unsurprisingly, producing animal-sourced foods comes with a far greater environmental cost than bringing plant-based foods from the field to the table.
As a matter of fact, a whopping two-thirds of all agricultural GHG emissions result from meat and dairy production, and the industry accounts for more than 75 percent of all agricultural land use. Plant-based foods, on the other hand, are much easier on the environment and put far less pressure on our climate and natural resources.
As the truth has come to light about the widespread environmental devastation directly linked to industrial animal agriculture, people in the U.S. and abroad have started to express more and more interest in plant-based eating. According to recent research, 39 percent of Americans say they want to eat more plant-based foods, and 58 percent of millennials are consuming plant-based meat alternatives.
As dietary preferences continue to evolve away from meat and dairy and toward plant-based foods, dining facilities such as cafeterias and university dining halls are now tasked with changing their offerings to satisfy diners.
To help facilitate the planet-benefiting trend toward more plant-based foods in dining centers, a new initiative called the Cool Food Pledge was recently launched by the World Resources Institute. According to the organization’s website, this innovative platform will “help facilities offer diners more of what they want while slashing food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030.”
To encourage food providers to sign the Pledge, it promises to offer all signatories assistance with:
- Developing dishes with smaller climate footprints
- Tracking the climate impact of the food they serve by gathering data and conducting periodic monitoring
- Meeting other targets related to number of diners, financial performance, and nutrition
- Forging connections with organizations producing innovative products, solutions, and training
- Promoting their achievements as leaders in the growing plant-based movement through social media campaigns and at an annual event
Since being announced earlier this month at the Global Climate Action Summit, the platform already has an impressive list of members who collectively serve more than 60 million meals each year. Among them are WeWork, Morgan Stanley, and UCLA Health, just to name a few. By 2021, the founders of the Cool Food Pledge hope to have at least 250 signatories on board with the initiative.
We’re absolutely thrilled to hear about this much-needed platform which will surely go a long way in reducing the impact of our food system on the planet!
If you’d like to learn more about the many ways plant-based eating benefits the Earth, check out the #EatForThePlanet book!
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