Breaking! Harvard University Joins Hilton & The World Bank As Signatories of The ‘Cool Food Pledge’ To Reduce Greenhouse Emissions of Food by 25% by 2030 & Serve More Plant-Based Alternatives Worldwide

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Harvard University recently became the latest signatory of the Cool Food Pledge (CFP), a growing movement to reduce the climate impacts of food. Cool Food signatories have to commit to collectively reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030, in line with limiting global warming to 1.5° Celsius.
Together, signatories serve over 800 million meals annually. Through the Cool Food Pledge, restaurants, hospitals, hotels, businesses, universities and cities are utilizing the latest behavioral science to help consumers choose foods with lower carbon footprints when dining with them. Strategies range from changing menu layouts, to using appetizing language, to offering more plant-based meals.
“A lot of what we are learning is that changing people’s behavior to eat more sustainably is not hard and it can have big impacts. For example, putting less-resource intensive plant-based dishes in a ‘vegetarian’ menu section reduces ordering of those dishes by 56%. Simply putting plant-based menu items in the same list as meat-heavy dishes can increase the chance a diner will choose that option,” said Daniel Vennard, Director of World Resources Institute, which serves as secretariat of the Cool Food Pledge.
“This is the next frontier in the climate arena. It is ground-breaking stuff.” Harvard joins a prestigious coalition of signatories that also includes other higher-education institutes such as University of Maryland and University of Pittsburgh. “As a leader in sustainable dining, serving 30,000 meals a day, The University of Pittsburgh is proud to join with organizations worldwide in offering delicious food that is healthy and better for the planet,” stated Dr. Aurora Sharrard, Director of Sustainability at The University of Pittsburgh. “The Cool Food Pledge reinforces our sustainability goals, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and serving more local, plant-based and organic foods.”
Late last week, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital became the most recent medical and health organizations to join the coalition, as did numerous prominent companies such as IKEA and Hilton,” as well as financial institutions including Morgan Stanley and World Bank.
“At IKEA, we have the ambition to become climate positive by 2030, and with hundreds of millions of visitors that enjoy the IKEA Food offerings each year, we know that we have a great responsibility, as well as an opportunity to inspire people to more sustainable consumption,” shared Michael La Cour, Managing Director of IKEA Food Services AB. “Joining the Cool Food Pledge is a way to hold ourselves accountable to hitting important climate targets, while also learning what works to help our consumers live more sustainable lives. That starts with what they eat.”
Cities throughout the world are also joining the Cool Food Pledge movement with Milan, Italy, and Ghent, Beguim, becoming the first to sign on.
Food is rapidly rising on the global climate agenda as companies and nations recognize the essential role it holds in meeting global targets, along with efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Agriculture and changes in land use account for nearly a quarter of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Producing animal-based foods alone accounts for two-thirds of agricultural GHG emissions, and global demand for meat is on the rise.
According to WRI research, the average American could cut their diet-related environmental impacts by nearly half just by eating less animal-based foods and more plants. The organization recommends those in high-meat consuming countries like the United States limit beef consumption to 1.5 burgers worth a week, as part of a global effort to meet the Paris Agreement on climate change.
WAN and Peace 4 Animals encourages high-meat consuming countries around the world to adopt plant-based alternatives to beef like Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger. With such success in the United States, we believe that it will soon catch on worldwide if given the chance and save not only our planet from unescessary greenhouse gas emissions, but billions of farm animals who are slaughted for their meat every year.
The Cool Food Pledge was first announced at the Global Climate Action Summit in fall 2018. Preliminary data indicates that if current pledge signatories collectively hit the 25% reduction target by 2030, they will avoid more than 800,000 tons CO2 of food-related GHG emissions annually, which is equivalent to taking more than 170,000 cars off the road.
“The world cannot prevent the worst impacts of climate change without changing how people eat. Right now, we are helping make more than 800 million meals climate-friendly. In time, we aim to reach 10 billion meals,” continued Vennard. “Putting more climate-friendly foods on the menu is on trend with consumer demand for more sustainable food options, and it is the right thing to do to ensure a healthy planet for generations to come.”
The Cool Food Pledge is an initiative of: World Resources Institute, UN Environment, Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, Health Care Without Harm, Practice Greenhealth, Climate Focus, EAT, and the Sustainable Restaurant Association. Once the signatories take the Pledge, the Cool Food team helps them and their catering companies develop plans for serving more climate-friendly food, as well as provides inspiring messaging that can be used to support existing sustainability campaigns.
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate. #GoVeg

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