Following the capital of Scotland’s endorsement of the Plant-Based Treaty last year, Edinburgh Council has taken another step away from animal agriculture as councillors passed a city-wide Plant-Based Treaty action plan. This plan will improve access to plant-based foods among residents and promote food security and lower food emissions. 

The executive summary of the plan states, “The Policy & Sustainability Committee agreed to endorse the call for a Plant-Based Treaty on behalf of the city in January 2023. Edinburgh has since become the first European capital to support this global initiative, which calls for the development of a Plant-Based Treaty by national governments as a companion to the UN Paris Agreement on climate. While endorsing the Plant Based treaty initiative is nonbinding and carries no legal risk, it does represent a public acknowledgement that food systems are a key driver of the climate crisis.”

The highlights of the plan are: Pilot healthy plant-based snacks when delivering activities with young people in libraries; deliver interventions in schools to raise awareness around the environmental impact of food; add carbon emissions to printed menus for outlets/events at the University of Edinburgh; promote Edinburgh’s Plant-Based Treaty endorsement and encourage caterers to increase plant-based options; mark Veganuary in the Council office buildings by promoting a vegan dish of the week throughout January; write a letter to all of the City of Edinburgh Council’s sister and twin cities to encourage them to endorse the Plant-Based treaty;  meet with the Better Food Foundation to explore ways to increase the uptake of plant-based food in city venues.

Cammy Day, Edinburgh’s City Council Leader, said, “The publication of the action plan coincides with Veganuary, which is a global campaign encouraging people to follow a vegan lifestyle during January. Edinburgh was ranked the most vegan-friendly city of 2022 so there are plenty of restaurants and shops to find plant-based food in the city for those who want to take up the challenge!” 

The City of Edinburgh Council endorsed the Plant Based Treaty in January 2023, becoming the first Scottish city and first capital in Europe to join the initiative to tackle food-related emissions from animal agriculture, a key driver of the climate emergency. The proposed treaty is backed by more than 20 municipal governments worldwide, including Los Angeles, Haywards Heath, and recently Exmouth

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.