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12th July 2023

UKHACC adds support for Plant Based Treaty

The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change has added its support to a global treaty to put food systems at the heart of combatting the climate crisis.

The Plant Based Treaty aims to halt the widespread degradation of critical ecosystems caused by animal agriculture, to promote a shift to healthy, sustainable plant-based diets, and to actively reverse damage done to planetary functions, ecosystem services and biodiversity.

The Treaty has three core principles:

Relinquish: No land use change, ecosystem degradation or deforestation for animal agriculture

Redirect: An active transition away from animal-based food systems to plant-based systems

Restore: Actively restoring key ecosystems, particularly restoring forests and rewilding landscapes

Earlier this year, the Alliance called on its members to commit to prioritising plant-based sustainable food in their organisations. Healthcare organisations can be powerful advocates for change, and by leading in transitioning to sustainable diets that are better for health and nature, have the potential to influence significant progress.

In the “All Consuming: Building a healthier food system for people and planet” policy report published by UKHACC in 2020, we reported on the high impact that meat production has on the climate in comparison to the much lower emissions from plant-based foods, which are also better for health. The independent UK Committee on Climate Change has called for a 20% fall in beef, lamb and dairy by 2030 and 35% by 2050. 

Director of UKHACC, Dr Elaine Mulcahy said, “Changing the way we produce and consume food is critical to protecting biodiversity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to climate impacts, and improving health. Currently, animal farming disproportionately impacts biodiversity, land use and the environment. We need to shift to diets based more on plants while reducing the consumption of animal-based foods. This should happen in parallel with the implementation of nature-friendly farming methods that protect animal welfare and significantly reduces food waste.”

UKHACC endorsement of the Plant Based Treaty further reinforces the need to transition to more plant-based diets for the benefit of climate, nature and our health.

James O’Toole, Director of Communications for Plant Based Treaty said, “We welcome the endorsement and support of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change. The support of an organisation whose collective members represent about 1 million health professionals shows that now is the time that serious action and advocacy is necessary to combat the climate and ecological crisis. A shift towards plant-based diets can also be hugely beneficial to the health wellbeing of the patients these healthcare professionals represent.”