July 16, 2023: A motion brought to Green Party members in Mid Sussex, Crawley and Horsham (MSCH) proposing that the local party endorse The Plant Based Treaty was passed with a clear majority following an anonymous online poll open to members of the MSCH Green Party.
The motion was introduced by Dr Richard Nicholson, Mid Sussex Green Party Deputy Chair and Haywards Heath Green Party Town Councillor 2019-2023, who led Haywards Heath Town Council to become the first Council in Europe to endorse the Plant Based Treaty in July 2022. The statement for the motion read:
The animal agriculture industry significantly contributes to climate change and biodiversity collapse through its greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, water consumption, and habitat destruction. The Plant Based Treaty addresses these challenges by advocating for policies that prioritize plant-based food systems, redirect agricultural subsidies, promote plant-based options in public institutions, and establish labeling systems. This treaty aims to mitigate the negative impacts of animal agriculture, reduce emissions, conserve forests, and preserve biodiversity. The endorsement of the treaty by local Green Party groups adds value by mobilizing collective influence, amplifying the message, and enabling coordinated efforts to engage policymakers and advocate for plant-based policies at the local level. By leveraging the power of these groups, the treaty has a higher chance of driving meaningful change towards sustainable and plant-based food systems.
The motion was first introduced in April 2023, and voting closed on 18 June 2023. 59 members voted for the motion, 39 against and 4 abstained. The result was announced to members at the MSCH AGM on 22 June 2023 and then circulated within the minutes.
Richard Nicholson said, “2023 is projected to be the hottest year on record, accelerating our trajectory towards critical environmental tipping points at an unexpectedly rapid pace. However, a shift towards plant-based diets, mitigates the food system’s significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, regrettably, governmental inaction persists, underscoring the vital importance of instigating such change through grassroots movements. The Plant Based Treaty serves as a crucial guide for these local initiatives. Hence, following the lead set by Haywards Heath Town Council in 2022, then Edinburgh and Norwich city councils, UK Universities, and Green Party local Groups, and demonstrating local democracy in action, Mid Sussex Green Party members have voted to endorse the Plant Based Treaty.”
Nicola Harris, Plant Based Treaty communications director, said, “We applaud Green Party members in Mid Sussex, Crawley and Horsham for acknowledging the significant impact of our food system on Earth’s systems and the need to shift towards sustainable plant-based diets to live safely within our planetary boundaries. Pressure is building in the UK for the Government to endorse the Plant Based Treaty and correct the National Food Strategy, and this endorsement adds weight to the historic motions passed by Haywards Heath, Edinburgh and Norwich Councils.”
The Plant Based Treaty is modelled on the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty 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 100,000 individual endorsers, 5 Nobel laureates, IPCC scientists, more than 3000 NGOs, community groups and businesses, including Ecotricity, Linda McCartney Foods, UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, Environmental Alliance Project and chapters of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Extinction Rebellion.
The Plant Based Treaty has been endorsed by the co-leaders of the Green Party, Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay, and deputy leader Zack Polanski. In April 2023, Zack Polanski, who is also the Deputy Chair of London’s Environment Committee, published an open letter calling for London Mayor Sadiq Khan to carry out an impact assessment for London to endorse the Plant Based Treaty.