2023 Press Releases

Environmentalists challenge Big Ag greenwashing at COP28 Food Systems Pavilion

“Pseudoscience and dairy washing have no place at COP28,” say Plant Based Treaty.

Media Contacts:

Rajeshwar Singh, Plant Based Treaty India, [email protected], +91 98066 66642
Nicola Harris, Plant Based Treaty communications director, [email protected], +447597 514 343
Tim Reijsoo, Plant Based Treaty Netherlands: [email protected]
Global: [email protected]

    Dietary Justice Q&A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2u7mcia0Wx0&t=1892s

    The President of the Dairy Federation, Piercristiano Brazzale, has made spurious claims during a dietary justice panel at COP28’s Food Systems Pavilion, falsely stating that vegan diets do not lower carbon footprints and that if the whole of the US adopted a vegan diet, it would require the entire nation to be deforested along with 30% of food needing to be imported. This starkly contrasts what the UK’s national treasure, Sir David Attenborough, told the nation earlier this week about a plant-based food system feeding the world with one-quarter of the land.

    During Sunday night’s episode of Planet Earth III, named “Human”, Sir David Attenborough said, “If we shift away from eating meat and dairy and move towards a plant-based diet, then the sun’s energy goes directly into growing our food. And because that’s so much more efficient, we could still produce enough to feed us but do so using a quarter of the land. This could free up an area the size of the United States, China, the European Union and Australia combined. A space that could then be given back to nature.”

    Rajeshwar Singh from Plant Based Treaty India said, “Pseudoscience and dairy washing have no place at COP28. We don’t have time to entertain mathematical gymnastics and false solutions when we should be building strategies to incorporate a Plant Based Treaty and plant-based transition into the Global Stocktake.” 

    During the dietary justice panel Q&A, Rajeshwar Singh challenged the notion of expanding animal agriculture in the global south. He explained to the panel that human nutritional needs could be met on a plant-based diet at all stages of life. He said, “We know that we are in the midst of a climate catastrophe in which we need to act very fast, and animal agriculture is one of the largest contributors to climate change and deforestation. The science is very clear on that. I believe we should not be using band-aids where surgeries are required. We should talk more seriously about how to mitigate animal agriculture, how to reduce it and how to shift towards more plant-based diets.”

    Tim Reijsoo, Plant Based Treaty Netherlands campaigner, entered a tense exchange with one panellist after his comment highlighting the colonial linkages of promoting dairy to lactose-intolerant communities in the global south were wrongly summed up as alt proteins being a form of colonialism. Tim Reijsoo firmly interrupted the panel and said, “I want to make sure there is no misunderstanding. My point is dairy consumption in a large part of the world – that is the colonial process… My point is not that alternative proteins are a sign of colonisation. In large parts of the world, it is the animal products that are, in fact, reminiscent of colonisation.”

    Radhika Ramesh, for the Good Food Institute, also addressed the panellists and said: “Growing food to feed our food, and then to eat them is largely unsustainable and takes up a lot of resources… Growing inputs that then go to animal protein industries take away the land, space and money to grow nutritious foods.”


    The Plant Based Treaty has been nominated for the 2024 Earth Shot Prize and is inspired by treaties that have addressed the threats of ozone layer depletion and nuclear weapons. 

    The initiative has been endorsed by 22 cities, including Edinburgh, Los Angeles and Didim, Turkey and has attracted support from 120,000 individual endorsers, 5 Nobel laureates, IPCC scientists, and more than 3000 groups and businesses, including the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, and chapters of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

    The Plant Based Treaty has secured high-profile endorsements from celebrities, including Chris Packham and 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.”