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Should government promote vegan?

1 in 3 Brits think government should promote plant-based diets to tackle the climate crisis
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Should government promote vegan?

New data, released by The Vegan Society, show that a huge number would happily get behind plans and policies that actively encourage people to cut back on their meat, dairy and egg consumption in order to help the government successfully achieve its climate objectives.

While vegan diets eliminate all animal products, plant-based diets focus on eating mostly plants, such as fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Support for plant-based diets

In December 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced ambitious new targets that set the UK on the path to net zero by 2050.

The new plan aims for at least 68% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade, compared with 1990 levels.

‘We believe this data is hugely positive for the vegan movement. It is fantastic to see that one in three people in the UK are listening to the science on the impact of dietary choices.

‘Many of the climate solutions on offer can only be achieved if implemented together and promoting plant-based diets is one solution that unlocks several others including reduced deforestation and less water and land use.’

Insight and commercial policy officer at The Vegan Society

When asked what government officials should do about food and farming to address the climate crisis, 32% of the 6,200 surveyed by The Vegan Society backed calls to promote plant-based diets.

This mirrors results from the recently published global United Nations Development Programme survey on climate change.

How to promote vegan

When it comes to which specific policy recommendations to use to promote plant-based diets, of the 2,000 respondents who said they supported this approach, 61% said they’d back public awareness campaigns on the health and environmental benefits.

60% believe there should be at least one plant-based, healthy meal on every public sector menu. This is something The Vegan Society has been directly promoting for years through the Catering for Everyone campaign.

Meanwhile, 55% felt there should be financial incentives and support for more UK-grown, high-protein crops, such as beans, nuts and seeds, while 53% want to see packages of support for farmers to transition out of animal farming, the focus of the Grow Green campaign.

Other responses included offering plant-milk in public health initiatives for children (51%) – which has recently been adopted by the Scottish Government – and Zero VAT rates on plant-based catering and restaurants (48%), which has been supported by vegan energy company Ecotricity which is currently advocating for zero VAT rates on all green goods and services.

The Vegan Society’s survey follows the UNDP’s Peoples’ Climate Vote in January, in which 81% of respondents from the UK said they believe that climate change is a global emergency, while 77% agreed we should do everything necessary and urgently.

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