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Council pledges to raise awareness of the benefits of plant-based food

Published: 15 December 2022

Council pledges to raise awareness of the benefits of plant-based food Cllr Josie Parkhouse and Cllr Duncan Wood

Councillors have supported a motion asking the Council to play a role in raising awareness of the benefits of plant-based foods both for people and the planet.

Cllr Duncan Wood, Lead Councillor for Climate Change, proposed the motion. It calls on the Council to transition to plant-based catering at all internal Council-catered meetings. Events the Council run will have a range of options and will also showcase plant-based foods. This means that there will be a range of options at events and not purely plant-based. 

Cllr Wood said at its core the motion is about awareness - awareness of the impact of choices everyone makes and what the options are to reduce that impact. 

It also calls for a policy of ensuring that plant-based options are available as part of the regular catering offer at Council-run external sites including leisure centres, cafes and restaurants and that the plant-based options are advertised clearly.

The motion stated that Council asks Executive to:

  • Ensure that by the Exeter City Council AGM in May 2023, food provided at catered internal council meetings will be plant-based and that it will showcase plant-based foods at catered events.
  • Ensure that all Council-run external sites including leisure centres, cafes and restaurants, have plant-based options available as part of their regular catering offer and advertised clearly on their menu.
  • Set up a cross-party Task and Finish Working Group, chaired by the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, of officers, elected members, including other relevant Portfolio Holders and invited experts, to promote and embed these principles in Exeter City Council’s food provision where practicable.

Cllr Wood said: “As we keep seeing, climate change is real - it’s a fact and we need to do what we can as individuals to address it. As people become more aware of climate change people ask what can I do, especially at the moment when costs are rising and money is tight.

“There are number of small changes we can all make, one is what we eat. What we eat makes a difference. If we are aware of the impact on climate our dietary choices have and what the options are, how our health is affected by what we eat, we can make informed choices.”

He added: “There is a shared understanding in society that we should eat less meat. Climate change means we need to look at everything we do, what changes we can make to reduce Carbon Emissions and consider food production, transportation and sustainability.

“We aren't saying people should stop eating meat, they may choose to of course. What we are saying that they could be aware of their choices and that eating more plant based food is one of the actions that they can take.”

Cllr Josie Parkhouse, Lead Councillor for Leisure and Physical Activity, who seconded the motion, said: “We have been bold in our ambitions as a city council in taking measures to support our ambition to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030. This is showing real climate leadership.

“The science is clear and we know that we need to start eating less meat as people, as a society and as a planet to help future generations. This motion is not saying we should all go vegan overnight. It is saying that we should all cut down on our meat consumption for the sake of the planet.”

The motion was overwhelmingly backed by councillors.

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