Cop26 delegates to be served plant-based, 80% Scottish menu

·3-min read
Environmental eating: vegetables will star over meat dishes as the conference looks to “set an example” for other events  (Iñigo De la Maza/Unsplash)
Environmental eating: vegetables will star over meat dishes as the conference looks to “set an example” for other events (Iñigo De la Maza/Unsplash)

Those headed to the Cop26 climate conference, which is bringing together more than 190 world leaders in Glasgow next month, will eat a menu dominated by plant-based dishes, with 80 per cent of the ingredients both seasonal and sourced from Scotland.

Over the weekend, the gov.uk website shared details of the dishes delegates will tuck into, with the menus described as having “a strong focus on sustainability”.

In total, 95 per cent of the dishes will come from the across the UK. This, the website says, “will put sustainability at the heart of catering for the summit, reducing emissions and promoting environment-friendly food production.”

The release adds that Cop26 “will set an example for other large-scale international events, in terms of food sourcing, by taking a number of measures to ensure a sustainable approach.”

These measures include using the same ingredients across various dishes, to minimise food waste, using reusable cups and ensuring suppliers “are setting high standards for sustainable food production.”

Courses on menus are printed with an indication of their environmental impact, with a listing of their carbon dioxide equivalent — in this instance, a figure used to demonstrate the collective greenhouse gases that are produced as a result of the dish. For example, a carrot and thyme soup results in 0.1kg CO2e, while a shredded chicken salad produces 0.5kg CO2e. There have been efforts made to reduce the carbon footprint of dishes, too. The Scottish beef burger set to be served has 3.3kg CO2e, but the menu proclaims: “Our standard burger would have produced 5.1kg of CO2e. By reducing the meat content, we have reduced the carbon footprint by 1.8kg CO2e.”

Other dishes include a potato, leek and rosemary chowder, a winter squash lasagne, braised turkey meatballs and tempura broccoli with chips. Organic spelt wholegrain pasta serve with a tomato ragu, kale, pesto and oatmeal crumble is another.

Cop26 president-designate Alok Sharma said of the food: “There will be a tremendous amount of work to be done at Cop26, with many hours of negotiations and long days, so the choice of food that we serve our visiting delegations, staff and all our volunteers, is very important.

“It is exciting to see such innovation in the menus that will be on offer and to understand the thought and effort that has gone into making dishes both healthy, sustainable and suitable for different diets and requirements.

“We very much look forward to giving our international visitors a flavour of the wide-ranging cuisine the UK has to offer.”

Cop26 marks the 26th time the United Nations has held its global climate change conference, which is known as a COP. This time, the UK is hosting the conference. It is seen as a vital chance for world leaders to agree on a way to tackle the the planet’s significant environmental challenges.

Among the 190 attendees will be the Queen, Pope Francis, US President Joe Biden, Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will also be there. Mr Johnson said ahead of the summit: “Securing a brighter future for our children and future generations requires countries to take urgent action at home and abroad to turn the tide on climate change.

“It is with ambition, courage and collaboration as we approach the crucial COP26 summit in the UK that we can seize this moment together, so we can recover cleaner, rebuild greener and restore our planet.”

Lord Deben, the chairman of the UK’s Climate Change Committee, said that the global population would “never forgive” its leaders should nothing significant be achieved across the conference.

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