Healthy, Climate-Friendly Food
Foodservice operations in schools, hospitals, universities, businesses and restaurants supply nearly half of all meals in the U.S. By redirecting their massive purchasing power, these food establishments have a huge opportunity to help us transition to a healthier, more sustainable, and equitable food system
What is climate-friendly foodservice? Healthy, climate-friendly foodservice achieves a lower carbon and water footprint than traditional foodservice by offering a wider array of healthy, plant-based and plant-forward foods. It also cuts emissions by reducing overall food and packaging waste, sourcing from farms that use carbon-enhancing, healthy soil practices and implementing recycling and other energy and water saving measures.
Climate-friendly food also supports public health goals and has the potential to save lives and billions of dollars in healthcare costs. There is widespread consensus amongst public health organizations that eating less meat, especially processed and red meats, can reduce the risk of diet-related illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Over-production and consumption of industrially produced animal foods is unhealthy and unsustainable for our planet. Animal products are the most carbon- and resource-intensive foods in our diet. A recent report forecast that if current consumption trends continue, the livestock sector will account for 81% of global GHGs by 2050, “making it virtually impossible to keep temperature increases below dangerous levels past 1.5˚ Celsius.” This is a threat with severe consequences and a clear solution: We must dramatically reduce production and consumption of meat and cheese in favor of regenerative agriculture and plant-based foods.
Building on our 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines campaign, the Healthy, Climate-Friendly Food Campaign focuses on leveraging public and higher education food policies and purchasing dollars to drive market shifts and consumption toward fewer and better animal products and healthier, plant-forward, sustainable food. Our work focuses on:
The California Assembly Education Committee has approved legislation incentivizing K-12 public schools across the state to offer healthier, climate-friendly lunch options.
With millions of pounds of animal foods served each year, this bill will help California’s public schools reduce their carbon footprint while serving kids healthier food.
This first-of-its-kind legislation will increase access to healthy and climate-friendly food for California’s six million kids who receive free and reduced price lunch. It will also help California meet its ambitious climate goals.
Aramark, Sodexo, and Compass group often have exclusive contracts with “Big Food” corporations that systematically lock out smaller, more sustainable producers, fair trade companies, and local farmers, ranchers, and fishers—especially those who have been disenfranchised.
Livestock production accounts for about 15 percent of global GHG emissions — more than the tailpipe emissions from all the planes, trains, cars and trucks in the world combined!
Cities and counties can address the food sector's significant impact on climate change by buying less meat and dairy and offering more plant-forward items on menus in large food venues operating on municipal property, like hospitals and airports.