COP28 Open Letter


Open Letter to COP28 Presidency:
Go Fully Plant-Based

The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, hosted in Dubai, presents an opportunity to put the issue of a just transition to a plant-based food system at the forefront of food insecurity and the climate agenda. The current global food system, with expanding meat, dairy, and egg consumption is transgressing planetary boundaries, risking food security, and harming human health and animal wellbeing. Even if fossil fuel emissions were halted today, emissions from the food system alone could increase global temperatures by more than 1.5ºC (Clark et al., 2020).

A vegan diet is the most climate-friendly diet and one that has been repeatedly endorsed by the IPCC. During COP27, food systems were included for the first time in the UN climate conference program, yet delegates were struggling to access plant-based meals. YOUNGO, the official children and youth constituency of UNFCCC, has already sent a joint letter request for sustainable plant-rich catering at COP28, attracting signatures from 150+ organizations.

Since you announced you will ensure the availability of plant-based food options at COP28, additional peer-reviewed studies have been published, which corroborate previous findings that show the urgent requirement for a shift towards a fully plant-based menu at COP28, instead of going halfway. A new study published in Nature Food showed that vegan diets result in 75% less greenhouse emissions, water pollution and land use than diets in which more than 100g of meat a day is eaten. Vegan diets also cut the destruction of wildlife by 66% and water use by 54%.

Another recent study published in Science Advances found that human activities have breached six of nine planetary boundaries necessary for keeping the planet healthy, pushing the environment “well outside the safe operating space for humanity.” Animal agriculture plays a significant role in crossing those six boundaries.

The Conference of Youth (COY) in Odisha, India held a 100% vegan event in August of this year, where esteemed speakers presented evidence-based research and insights on the connection between animal agriculture and the climate crisis. COY demonstrated the importance of implementing a plant-based food policy at their event in order to align with the climate goals.

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, President-Designate for COP28 UAE, has described this year’s conference as a “prime opportunity to rethink, reboot, and refocus the climate agenda,” and we, therefore, ask him to match those words with meaningful action, starting with a tangible commitment to providing 100% plant-based catering at COP28.

We call on you, world leaders, to commit to:

 1. 100% plant-based catering during COP28 and all UN climate conferences and offices, showcasing locally sourced veganic produce where possible.

2. Use the Food and Water Systems Day at COP28 on December 10, 2023 to focus on plant-based solutions following calls from twenty-one cities, including the Scottish Capital Edinburgh and Los Angeles for world leaders to negotiate a Plant Based Treaty as a companion to the Paris Agreement. A focus on the multitude of benefits and opportunities of a transition towards a plant-based food system to address the triple threat of the climate crisis, food insecurity and the cost of living crisis.

3. COP28 to take a zero-tolerance approach to greenwashing by the animal agriculture lobby by ensuring industry representatives are not platformed for the purposes of promoting unproven measures that are at odds with the latest IPCC science.

It is imperative for climate conferences to provide climate-friendly catering. So please help nourish the planet and nourish ourselves by supporting plant-based catering at COP28!

COP 28 must be the key moment when the problems of the current food and agriculture system are finally recognised and the actions taken are in line with today’s challenges.

Sign the Open Letter

Sign your name on the open letter as a scientist, politician, group or business:


Plant Based Treaty