Helsinki, Finland - Less Meat More Veg - Greenpeace - Less Meat More Veg - Greenpeace
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The Helsinki City Council voted by a margin of 42-39 to cut the city’s municipal meat and dairy consumption by 50% over the next six years. Although no firm rules have been set, the new motion likely means that schools and social services in Helsinki will have to cut their food offers of meat and dairy in half and replace them with vegetarian or vegan options instead.
Finland has always been a leader when it comes to public meals – in 1948, it was the first country in the world to require free meals in all schools. Now Helsinki, which serves meals to 50,000 students a day, is leading the way when it comes to vegetarian school meals.

Vegetarian menu items have been required in school meals since 2007. Since 2010, school canteens have had one dedicated vegetarian day a week, and in 2015, this went up to twice a week. This shift was controversial when it was first proposed, but just a year after the policy was instituted, over two-thirds of Helsinki residents thought it was a good idea – a great example of how programs like this can change minds about plant-based diets!

What’s next?

The Helsinki schools have shown this can work! Now Helsinki should try it out in other public canteens.

Greenpeace’s global challenge:

Our supporters are challenging cities to race to the top on meat reduction to protect our climate, forests, and water. We aim to have at least 50 cities commit to serving two vegetarian meals (no meat or dairy options) in all public canteens weekly by the end of 2019. We expect to have at least 100 global cities make this or a greater commitment toward less and better meat and more plant-rich meals by 2020.

take action

In October 2019, city mayors affiliated with C40 and the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact convened to discuss future policies to address the climate crisis.

More than 200 scientists banded together, urging mayors to adopt ambitious food policies to reduce meat for the climate. 14 mayors signed a commitment to become ‘Good Food Cities’, considerably reducing meat served in their public institutions.

Dozens of cities are taking action. It’s a great start but not nearly enough. Add your name below to receive a Cities Toolkit that will give you step-by-step instructions on how to move your city or school toward Less Meat More Veg.

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