“The EAT-Lancet Commission landmark report provides the first-ever scientific targets for healthy diets from sustainable food systems at the global level, and now cities are paving the way for how to implement these in the local context. The Planetary Health Diet is flexible and can be adapted across all culinary traditions and cultural preferences. A radical transformation of our global food system is critical to mitigate climate change, halt biodiversity loss and build prosperous economies, while improving the health and wellbeing of populations. It is extremely encouraging and inspiring to see cities rising to this challenge and making bold commitments.”
Dr. Gunhild Stordalen
Copenhagen, Denmark, (October 10, 2019)
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.
Today, 14 global cities committed to the C40 Good Food Cities Declaration, in order to promote and preserve the health of citizens and the health of the planet. Mayors will work with their citizens to achieve a ‘Planetary Health Diet’ for all by 2030, with balanced and nutritious food, reflective of the culture, geography, and demography of their citizens. Public institutions often provide food to communities with the least access to fresh and healthy food. Mayors will use their procurement powers to change what kind of food cities buy, and introduce policies that make healthy, low-carbon food affordable and accessible for all. They’ll also reduce food loss and wasted food.
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, Toronto. The pledge was made at the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen.
Research released by C40 Cities in June 2019, revealed that food is amongst the biggest sources of consumption-based emissions from cities. Eating a sustainable diet and avoiding food waste could cut greenhouse gas emissions from the food we eat by more than 60%. Research by The EAT-Lancet Commission released in January 2019 found that if adopted universally, the ‘Planetary Health Diet’ would dramatically reduce emissions, provide a balanced, nutritional diet for 10 billion people, and save 11 million lives each year. The planetary health diet is comprised of balanced and nutritious food providing up to 2,500 calories a day for all adults, not to exceed 16kg of meat per person per year or ~300g per week, and 90kg of dairy per person per year or ~250g per day, and low in ultra-processed food. A planetary health plate consists of approximately half a plate of vegetables and fruits; the other half consists of primarily whole grains, plant protein sources, unsaturated plant oils, and (optionally) modest amounts of animal sources of protein.
Under the C40 Good Food Cities Declaration, cities commit to, by 2030 :
- Align food procurement policies to the Planetary Health Diet ideally sourced from organic agriculture
- Support an overall increase of healthy plant-based food consumption in our cities by shifting away from unsustainable, unhealthy diets.
- Reduce food loss and waste by 50% from 2015 figures; and
- Work with citizens, businesses, public institutions and other organizations to develop a joint strategy for implementing these measures and achieving these goals inclusively and equitably, and incorporating this strategy into the city’s Climate Action Plan.
These 14 signatory cities serve 500 million meals per year – in schools, hospitals, and other public buildings, and are improving availability and affordability of nutritious and sustainable food for their 64 million citizens. The C40 Good Food Cities Declaration will therefore directly benefit millions of people and provide a clear signal to the market that there is great demand for healthy and sustainable food. Cities are leading efforts to change the way food is produced and consumed.
The global food system is a major driver of harmful greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for around a quarter of all emissions which are driving the global climate emergency. Without substantial changes to the ways in which we produce, transport, consume, and dispose of food, C40’s research shows that emissions from the food sector are set to increase by nearly 40% by 2050. As emissions grow from producing, consuming and disposing of food, the accelerating climate crisis threatens our ability to feed the world’s growing population. Currently, more than 820 million people around the world suffer from hunger. At the same time, global diet trends also contribute to increased rates of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer; rising healthcare costs; and millions of premature deaths each year.
As urbanisation brings more people to the world’s cities, 80% of all food produced globally is expected to be consumed in cities by 2050, and because food insecurity and rising obesity are increasingly urban problems, mayors acknowledge the imperative to act in the best interests of their citizens.
“The climate emergency is more urgent than ever, and our response must be commensurate with the challenge ahead of us,” said Mayor Giuseppe Sala. “We must look at how we can effect change in every and any sector, and food is one of the most important cultural and economic assets of urban communities. Tackling emissions associated with food waste and unsustainable practices in our food systems are an immense opportunity for cities to increase emissions reductions and enable all citizens to make healthier, more informed choices.”
On October 9th, C40 mayors announced their support for a Global Green New Deal to “drive an urgent, fundamental and irreversible transfer of global resources away from fossil fuels and into action that averts the climate emergency.” The C40 Good Food Cities Declaration, is just one example of how cities are delivering on that vision.
To celebrate the commitment of the C40 Good Food Cities Declaration, on Friday October 11th local chefs and global C40 mayors will cook up fun, delicious and inexpensive plant-based meals while talking about how chefs and cities are responding to the challenge of transforming urban food systems. The event is open to the public and will take place at 19:00 at the Regnbuepladsen, next to Copenhagen City Hall.
About the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
Around the world, C40 Cities connects 94 of the world’s greatest cities to take bold climate action, leading the way towards a healthier and more sustainable future. Representing 700+ million citizens and one quarter of the global economy, mayors of the C40 cities are committed to delivering on the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement at the local level, as well as to cleaning the air we breathe. The current chair of C40 is Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo; and three-term Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. C40’s work is made possible by our three strategic funders: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and Realdania.
About the Planetary Health Diet
The EAT-Lancet Commission created the “planetary health diet” to highlight the critical role that diets play in linking human health and environmental sustainability.
The planetary health diet is comprised of balanced and nutritious food providing up to 2,500 calories a day for all adults, not to exceed 16kg of meat per person per year or ~300g per week, and 90kg of dairy per person per year or ~250g per day, and low in ultra-processed food. A planetary health plate should consist of approximately half a plate of vegetables and fruits; the other half should consist of primarily whole grains, plant protein sources, unsaturated plant oils, and (optionally) modest amounts of animal sources of protein.
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Shifting Urban Diets
Shifting Urban Diets aims to demonstrate how scientific targets for food systems can be operationalized in the city context, and translated into local action and interventions.