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Amsterdam signs Plant Based Treaty

The municipality of Amsterdam supports the global call to combat the climate crisis ‘by changing dietary patterns’
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Street market in the Dutch capital Amsterdam. A market stall of fresh vegetables is on display for sale.

Amsterdam has become the first EU capital to call for a global Plant Based Treaty to address food system impacts on the climate emergency.

The proposed treaty is now backed by 25 municipal governments worldwide, including Edinburgh and Los Angeles.

‘The way we produce, distribute, process, and consume food has a significant impact on the health of people and animals and contributes to the climate crisis. With its Food Strategy, the municipality of Amsterdam takes responsibility to drive changes in the food system, ensuring that all residents of Amsterdam have access to healthy, fair, sustainable, and affordable food and drinks. One effort to achieve this is the shift towards more plant-based food.

‘The consumption of more plant-based proteins is better for our health. It can lead to fewer conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and colorectal cancer. It is also better for our climate impact by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing land use and depletion of oceans. Moreover, less industrial livestock farming is better for animal welfare. The ambition is to shift the protein ratio in the city’s diet from 40 to 60 percent plant-based by 2030.

‘By signing the Plant Based Treaty, the municipality of Amsterdam supports the global call to cities, organisations, businesses and residents to contribute to combating the climate crisis by changing dietary patterns. The efforts of its own implementation agenda are pivotal in this regard.’

THE CITY OF AMSTERDAM COUNCIL

A Plant Based Capital?

As well as the call for a Plant Based Treaty, Amsterdam is taking a leading role in the protein transition.

A motion tabled by the Party for the Animals, which aims to make Amsterdam a ‘Plant Based Capital’, was adopted.

The city will enter a covenant with major employers, public institutions such as hospitals, community centres and care institutions in Amsterdam titled ‘Amsterdam: healthy, fair, and sustainable food city’.

The covenant could include:

  • All employees, visitors and patients can obtain full plant-based meal options in all publicly funded institutions from 2024
  • All restoration and catering at public institutions commit to a Vegan Friday from 2024
  • All restoration and catering commit by 2030 to the animal-plant protein ratio set in Amsterdam
  • An annual plant-based conference with care institutions, schools, universities and other public institutions in Amsterdam

‘Amsterdam has demonstrated their climate action leadership as the first EU capital to endorse Plant Based Treaty. We urge more cities to sign up to address food system impacts on the climate emergency. The introduction of plant-based food initiatives like Vegan Fridays will make sustainable plant-based food accessible to all, which will improve our health as well as strengthen food security. Everyone can take part by emailing their city council inviting them to follow Amsterdam’s great example.

‘Sea ice instability is a severe risk to the future of the Netherlands. The latest IPCC assessment projects the possibility of 1.5-2m sea level rise by 2100, which would see half of the Netherlands submerged, and as high as 5m by 2150 which would impact the entire country. The easiest way to prevent further temperature rises is to cut methane fast and of all the methane produced in the Netherlands, around 70% comes from animal farming. A plant-based food system can deliver the methane cuts we need and offer an opportunity to feed the world with one-quarter of the land, allowing us to return vast areas of land to nature.’

LEA GOODETT
Plant Based Treaty Netherlands

Supporting a Plant Based Treaty

The Plant Based Treaty is modelled on the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty which Edinburgh endorsed in 2021 and inspired by treaties that have addressed the threats of ozone layer depletion and nuclear weapons.

Since its launch in August 2021, the initiative has received support from 135,000 individual endorsers, five Nobel laureates, IPCC scientists, more than 1000 NGOs and community groups and 1000 businesses, including the TAPP coalition, Redefine Meat, Oceanic Preservation Society and chapters of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

‘In light of recent protests by farmers in Paris, Berlin and Brussels, the Plant Based Treaty hopes to bring everyone together. Rising temperatures are a risk to food insecurity and food inflation, with 63% of arable land in Europe being used to grow crops for farmed animals rather than humans directly.

‘Plant Based Treaty supports fair pay for farmers and financial packages, including subsidies to transition to sustainable plant-based systems and funding for rewilding and land stewardship.’

LISETTE WEUSTENENK
Plant Based Treaty Netherlands

The Plant Based Treaty has secured high-profile endorsements from celebrities including Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney, who issued a written statement calling for politicians to support the Plant Based Treaty.

They said: ‘We believe in justice for animals, the environment and people. That’s why we support the Plant Based Treaty and urge individuals and governments to sign it.’

Last year, the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, endorsed the Plant Based Treaty and in January 2024 published their Plant Based Treaty action plan.

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