Revealed: COP26’s VERY unsustainable menu

·2-min read
Stock image of a cheeseburger and fries (Mike / Unsplash)
Stock image of a cheeseburger and fries (Mike / Unsplash)

The Cop26 menu has been criticised for having almost 60% meat and dairy dishes with high-carbon foods at every stand.

Environmental campaigners criticised the move as “utterly reckless” and said it is “like serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference”.

World leaders at the climate change summit in Glasgow have a wide choice of meals ranging from soups and salads to pastries and pizza.

The online menu, titled ‘a recipe for change’, advocates for plant-based foods as one of the most effective ways to reduce emissions.

But only 42% of the menu is plant-based, with the rest featuring high carbon foods such as burgers, haggis, venison, cheese and beef ramen.

Joel Scott-Halkes, a spokesperson for the campaign group Animal Rebellion, said it is a “damning indictment of the UK government’s failure” to grasp the root cause of the climate crisis.

“It’s like serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference. As long as such illogical decisions are being made, the climate emergency will never be resolved,” he said.

“Animal farming is by far the biggest cause of deforestation and contributes at least 18% of global annual emissions, so why promote it at a climate conference?”


He went on to describe world leader’s “willful ignorance” as “an insult to future generations.”

Cop26’s menu boasts having a majority of suppliers coming from within 100 miles of Glasgow, significantly reducing its transportation footprint.

However, campaigners say switching to a plant-based food system and restoring nature on the leftover land would “pull down 16 years of global emissions out of the sky.”

The lowest-carbon dishes were entirely plant-based such as the spinach and roasted cauliflower which fell into the low category generating just 0.2kg of carbon per serving.

Even some vegetarian options came with high carbon ratings including the Scottish buffalo mozzarella pizza carrying 2.1kg.

The biggest carbon culprits were the cheeseburger at 3.4kg, haggis neeps and tatties, also at 3.4kg, and Scotch beef ramen, at 3kg.

While the breakfast menu was far more exemplary, with all dishes coming in under 0.5kg.


The conference teamed up with Swedish start up Klimato to analyse the carbon footprint of the food served at Cop26.

Each page of the menu informs diners that an average meal has a carbon footprint of 1.7kg CO2e in the UK and labels each dish according to its category of low, medium or high.

Promoting WWF’s message that this must be reduced to below 0.5 kg CO2e to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, it says these climate labels help delegates choose the most eco-friendly meal.

But high-carbon food still accounts for the bulk of options.

Eco campaigners have also raised concerns about the number of world leaders travelling to the summit by plane including Boris Johnson who flew back to London after speaking to delegates about the urgency of the climate crisis.

Downing Street defended the move and said the prime minister faced “significant time constraints” when moving round the country.

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