UK Health Alliance on Climate Change
The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change brings together doctors, nurses and other health professionals to advocate for responses to climate change that protect and promote public health.
#ALLCONSUMING: Building a Healthier Food System for People & Planet
A new, UKHACC-commissioned YouGov survey shows that two-thirds of health professionals agree that dietary changes which reduce the climate impact food can also improve health. In a new policy paper, the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change has published its recommendations for Government actions designed to promote this transition in the UK.
On Wednesday 4 November, the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change (UKHACC) published its suite of recommendations in the paper: ‘All-consuming: building a healthier food system for people and planet’.
Most activity to mitigate climate change has focused on decarbonising energy and transport, but it’s now widely recognised that it will be impossible to keep global temperatures at safe levels unless there is a transformation in the way the world produces and consumes food, which makes up over a quarter (26%) of total global greenhouse gas emissions.
UKHACC’s survey shows strong support for change, with 40% of UK health professionals reporting that they have already changed their diet/eating habits due to environmental concerns.
While it will be necessary for individuals and organisations to change their behaviour to reduce food’s contribution to the climate emergency, and the NHS in England has recently set a target to become carbon neutral by 2040. However, UKHACC believes that the Government must do more to encourage, enable and support these changes. The Alliance’s recommendations include:
- Advice & Information – Existing public information campaigns on diet should include climate messages, and health professionals & patients should be supported with clear, accessible information on transitioning to a climate-friendly diet.
- Food Labelling – Commission independent research into the most effective form of environmental labelling to implement to support consumers to make sustainable choices.
- Public Procurement – Amend public procurement rules to require all procured food to meet minimum environmental standards – using purchasing power to shift the market.
- Food Policy After Brexit – New trade agreements must include a clause requiring imports to meet UK environmental standards.
Henry Dimbleby, Independent Lead of the National Food Strategy, said:
“COVID-19, painful though it is, could pale into insignificance compared to the turbulence created by climate change and the collapse in biodiversity. Healthcare professionals have an important role in shaping our diets and I am very pleased to see their recommendations cover not only our health, but that of our planet too – and that they consider the broader influences on our food system
For more information read more here, or download the full paper using the button above.