From low carbon lunches to a local declaration, SFP Network members are working to ensure local action on food is part of the solution to limit climate change. See below for ways to get involved!
COP26, the global UN Climate Conference is taking place in Glasgow. Governments from across the world are bringing forward their plans for reducing emissions with the aim of limiting global warming and protecting life on earth. Despite recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change to transform land use, alongside a reduction in both food waste and the consumption of the most carbon-intensive foods to reach Net Zero by 2050, Government has fallen short of action to limit emissions from food and farming in the latest Net Zero Strategy. The SFP Network believes that local action is part of the solution and supports a transition to food and farming systems that deliver healthy and sustainable diets, while supporting the livelihoods of farmers and everyone employed in the food chain.
Here’s a quick roundup of what the SFP Network is up to.
The Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration is a pledge and call to action by local governments from all over the world to accelerate the development of integrated food policies as a key tool in the fight against climate change with co-benefits for biodiversity, access to sustainable and healthy diets for all, and the creation of resilient livelihoods for farm and food workers. It was prepared in partnership between international networks of sub-national governments, UN agencies and non-governmental agencies, including programmes such as SFP. We have promoted the declaration to SFP members and prospects as a tool to commit local authorities to reduce GHG emissions from local food systems in order to fulfil the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. As a result, more than 20 members and prospects of the SFP network are among the signatories and many are participating in the official presentation of the declaration at COP26.
SFP hosted a day of celebration and action on 29 September, with members across the country holding low-carbon lunches to highlight how local action can make a difference. The lunches involved Councillors, businesses, organisations and community members, from school children to chefs, to encourage action at every level. The 60 members of the SFP Network wrote an open letter to COP26 Secretary Alok Sharma and Environment Secretary George Eustice calling for food production to be included in the UK’s national plans for action on climate. The letter called on George Eustice to follow the recommendations of the recent independent National Food Strategy, which suggests an overhaul of the buying standards for public sector food to ensure they reflect a healthy and sustainable diet. New polling commissioned by SFP and carried out by Savanta ComRes in September 2021 found very strong support for public sector food in addressing climate change.
Food for the Planet is a new campaign of SFP, led by Sustain. The aim is to reduce the environmental impact of food through local action. We are encouraging councils, businesses and other organisations to take simple food-related actions to tackle the climate and nature emergency. A reduction in emissions, alongside other environmental impacts of food, can be achieved by working in three key areas at the local level: transform catering and procurement by serving less and better meat in local restaurants and caterers; protecting and increasing land for agroecological food production’ and promoting food use and reducing food waste. Councils hold four big keys to reducing the huge impact of our food system on our climate, wildlife and people’s health. These are the food that councils buy, the land they manage, how they deal with food waste and how they support local food businesses. As part of the campaign, the ‘Every Mouthful Counts’ toolkit helps councils identify where big emissions savings can be made through food, with links to helpful resources. It contains a list of tried and tested actions, which places can tick off to show they have ‘achieved’ or are ‘working on’ them. The campaign also calls on local caterers, restaurants and other organisations serving food to take action to reduce the environmental impact of their business by serving less and better meat and more ethical food i.e signing the Planet Pledge. Register to take action at the Food for the Planet website.
Join us in Glasgow or online for a couple of events included in the series ‘Recipes for Resilience’, a 12-day event organised by Nourish Scotland and partners to help elevate the importance of action on food and farming during COP26.
Thursday 4 November 11:00-12:00
Climate change and growing inequality are two of the biggest issues shaping our food system and exacerbated by it. This event, chaired by the Landworkers Alliance, with speakers from Nourish, Sustain/SFP, Landworkers Alliance and Reading-based project Growing Solidarity, will explore both community-level initiatives and national-level advocacy ensuring food fit for the planet is a right for all. We will discuss the false dichotomy of having to choose affordable food vs sustainable and ethical food and look at upcoming opportunities to make access to climate-friendly food everyone’s business.
Thursday 11 November, 19:00-20:00
This event will follow on from the official presentation of the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration to delegates and will take place on Cities Day to emphasize the huge role local areas play in tackling the climate and nature emergency through food. It will inspire everyone with examples from across the Sustainable Food Places Network covering action on catering and procurement, land use and food growing strategies and food waste. It will enable participants to connect and network over planet-friendly nibbles and (non-alcoholic) drinks.
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