WWF (World Wildlife Fund) have published a new report that concludes that a vegan diet can significantly reduce our environmental impact, lowering an individual’s carbon footprint. They studied four of Britain’s most-loved dishes: chicken tikka masala, fish and chips, ploughman’s lunch and cawl, a Welsh lamb stew.
Identifying where each component of the dish comes from, and how much each component of the dish contributes to carbon footprint they later conclude the best ways for people to reduce their carbon footprint. In the introduction to the study they write: “For comparison, one example result shows that the missions for the ingredients and preparation of one chicken tikka masala are equivalent to boiling a kettle 89 times to make a cup of tea. In doing so, we consider how the footprints of these meals compared to the ‘carbon budget’ we need to have adopted by 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement.”
They explain the Paris agreement by saying; “The ‘COP 21’ Paris Climate Agreement aims to reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions to a level that limits the global average temperature rise to well below two degrees, compared to pre-industrial levels, with an aspirational goal of 1.5 degrees.
“Globally, 20% of direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are from food and agriculture, so clearly diets have a critical role in supporting the international mission to minimise anthropogenic emissions and limit the most severe effects of climate change.”
In the report they continue to evaluate the best ways that people can help reduce their carbon footprint, and how they follow a healthy diet. They speak about veganism, saying: “Swelling support in 2018 for ‘Veganuary’ (being vegan in January); burgeoning plant based food and milk products from retailers; and an increase to 29% of evening meals now being meat-free, all indicate encouraging shifts in eating patterns. These changes make a huge contribution to meeting the UK’s commitment to limiting climate change to a 1.5 degree rise.”
You can read the full report titled Food in a Warming World: The Changing Foods on the British Plate here.