Last week, 14 global cities signed up to the C40 Good Food Cities Declaration, committing to promote the Planetary Health Diet. City mayors will work with their citizens and introduce policies to encourage more balanced, affordable and sustainable diets as well as reduce food waste. The signatories include: Barcelona, Copenhagen, Guadalajara, Lima, London, Los Angeles, Milan, Oslo, Paris, Quezon City, Seoul, Stockholm, Tokyo and Toronto.
The Declaration consists of commitments to align with The Eat-Lancet Commission’s Planetary Health Diet. The Diet, published in January 2019, consists of diverse sustainable and nutritious foods that can not only feed the growing global population, but can reduce undernutrition and the negative environmental consequences of agriculture, too.
Recent research from C40 Cities identified food as one of the biggest sources of consumption-based emissions from cities. Further, the greenhouse gas emissions from the food sector are set to increase by almost 40% by 2050. Through adopting more sustainable diets and cutting food waste, as outlined in the Good Food Cities Declaration, cities can reduce their food emissions by more than 60%.
However, the Diet stirred up controversy when it was published as it consists of very limited animal-based products – which stands in stark contrast to many, particularly Western, diets currently. The shift towards sustainable diets is necessary but is inherently a very personal issue. Is it up to city mayors to shift citizen’s diets, and how effective will the Declaration be?