2023 Press Releases

Lambeth becomes first London Borough to endorse the call for a Plant Based Treaty in response to the climate crisis.

The council will calculate and reduce food emissions and deliver programmes to promote and improve accessibility to plant-based foods, including local fruit and veg vouchers for vulnerable households.

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LONDON (23 October 2023)Lambeth has endorsed the Plant Based Treaty, becoming the first London Borough to join the initiative to tackle food-related emissions. Lambeth Council have pledged to improve accessibility to healthy plant-based foods through council events, school-based activities, fruit and veg vouchers for vulnerable households and community gardens. The London Borough aims to inspire communities to make sustainable food choices to build a healthier, more resilient, and environmentally conscious future for all.

The council joins Haywards Heath, Norwich and Edinburgh to become the 22nd municipality worldwide to endorse the call for a global Plant Based Treaty to address ecological crises and enable us to live safely within our planetary boundaries.

A joint statement from Cllr Rezina Chowdhury, Deputy Leader (Sustainable Lambeth & Clean Air) and Cllr Jim Dickson, Cabinet Member for Healthier Communities said: 

“As a sector, food and agriculture is a leading carbon emitter, accounting for a third of global greenhouse gases. Food is also linked to half of human-induced biodiversity loss and is a decisive factor on the health and wellbeing of citizens. Recognising this, Lambeth Council is endorsing the principles of the Plant Based Treaty and committing to actions that we can take forward as a London Local Authority.”

Lambeth Council plans to take a multi-faceted approach to support the principles of the Plant Based Treaty by integrating the principles into existing programs, plans and strategies in three key areas. Their statement says:

“Firstly, in our Lambeth Biodiversity Action Plan, we will continue to work with community groups across the borough to promote the establishment of new and appropriate community gardens. By protecting and enhancing biodiversity we can support the availability of diverse plant-based food options for our residents while also safeguarding vital habitats for wildlife.

Secondly, the promotion of plant-based foods is a key element in our Food Poverty and Insecurity Action Plan, as well as our broader work on food and health. By taking a comprehensive approach, we will drive measures that improve residents’ access to sustainable, healthy, and balanced diets which are nutritious and affordable. This includes continuing to deliver programmes that promote and improve accessibility to plant-based foods. For example, fruit and vegetable intake is promoted to children and their families through school-based activities, local fruit and veg vouchers are distributed to vulnerable households, and the Healthy Start Scheme is actively promoted for those who are eligible. We recognise that a shift toward plant-based diets can contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of our residents.

Finally in our Climate Action Plan, we will incorporate measures to reduce the carbon footprint associated with our food systems. This includes measuring and reducing food-based emissions and minimising food waste, supporting businesses that prioritise sustainable agriculture practices and food procurement as well as reducing the consumption of animal-based products in council-run facilities and events. We will also continue to use council communications channels to promote sustainable (and affordable) food and drink practices.”

Lambeth Council endorsed the Plant Based Treaty due to the alignment of the treaty’s principles with their existing initiatives and programmes and speaks to the Council’s commitment to implement the related initiatives. Back in June 2023, Councillor Scott Ainslie also invited Lambeth Council to endorse the Plant Based Treaty at a full council meeting, when he submitted a question to the Cabinet Member for Sustainable Lambeth and Clean Air, Councillor Rezina Chowdhury. He said: 

“Fossil fuels and animal agriculture are the driving force behind runaway global warming as well as extensive biodiversity loss, large-scale deforestation, species extinction, water depletion, soil degradation and ocean dead zones. Will Lambeth Council join the thousands of cities, organisations, businesses and individuals and sign The Plant Based Treaty?”

Andrew Garner, Plant Based Treaty UK city campaigner, said,

“Lambeth is leading the way in London by endorsing the Plant Based Treaty and helping vulnerable households access fruits and vegetables. Also, increasing access to plant-based food through council-run events and facilities will make healthy, sustainable foods more accessible and help build resilience in the global food system.” 

Lambeth’s endorsement further pressures London Mayor Sadiq Khan to endorse the Plant Based Treaty and commit to making plant-based food more accessible throughout the city. Earlier this year, London Assembly Member Zack Polanski penned an open letter to Mayor Khan highlighting the importance of plant-based diets to address the climate and ecological emergency. Polanski pointed out,

“In London, only 5% of food consumed by mass is meat, yet it is responsible for 27% of total household emissions.” He called for “a short impact assessment of the GLA endorsing the Plant-Based Treaty and integrating its principles and actions into Mayoral programmes and policies.”

Nicola Harris, communications director at Plant Based Treaty said,

“Lambeth council joins climate action leaders, Edinburgh, Norwich and Haywards Heath, and 600 individual councillors in calling for global Plant Based Treaty. It’s time for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to take food emissions seriously by revisiting the National Food Strategy and taking steps for the UK to endorse the Plant Based Treaty.”


The Plant Based Treaty is modelled on the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty which Edinburgh endorsed in March 2022 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 120,000 individual endorsers, 5 Nobel laureates, IPCC scientists, and more than 3000 groups and businesses, including Ecotricity, Linda McCartney Foods, Plant Based Health Professionals, UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, and chapters of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Extinction Rebellion.

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.”