All Student Vote (Autumn 2023)
Plant-based Warwick to tackle the climate crisis: for a just transition
This motion is for Warwick Students' Union to publicy endorse the Plant Based Universities campaign and support student campaigning towards an acheivable strategy for affordable, accessible and nutritious plant-based food at Warwick and for the VP for Development and Democracy to implement at least 50% plant-based food and drink options in SU outlets by the start of next academic year (2024/2025), and 100% by the start of the 2027/2028 academic year.
In light of prevailing climate science, we want the University to commit to a tangible road map towards climate-friendly consumption – for a more sustainable, affordable and equitable future. We therefore demand the Students’ Union ensure that 50% of food options in SU outlets are plant-based by the next academic year, with a commitment to achieve a fully plant-based transition by the 2027-28 academic year.
Endorsements: Warwick Climate Reality, Warwick VegSoc & Warwick Amnesty
This Union Notes:
1.) Given the climate and ecological emergency, universities have a responsibility to act on the climate research they are leading. We only have 7 years to avoid a rise in 1.5? which would be catastrophic for humans and the environment.1
2.) Animal agriculture is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions globally, alongside fossil fuels & transportation.2
a.) The industry is grossly resource inefficient: It accounts for only 18% of global calories, yet uses 83% of global farmland.3
b.) According to Oxford scientists behind the most comprehensive environmental analysis on farming, avoiding meat and dairy is the ‘single biggest way’ to reduce our impact on Earth.4
c.) With a transition to plant-based farming, the UK could free up 51% of its land for rewilding and carbon drawdown.5
3.) Plant Based Universities is a nationwide, student-led movement with over 40 active campaigns, achieving landmark votes at 7 universities committing to an 100% plant-based transition, including at Cambridge, Stirling and Kent.6
4.) Accessibility: plant-based food is accessible to students as it is almost always halal, kosher, lactose free and vegetarian. All students would have an abundance of options when eating on campus.
5.) Cost of living crisis: students are struggling with rising food prices and food currently sold on campus is too expensive. According to a research study by the Oxford Martin School, in high-income countries, vegan diets were the most affordable and reduced food costs by up to one third.7 SU outlet prices must reflect this. All surcharges on plant-based and sustainable options must end.
This Union Believes:
1.) Currently, through investment, universities legitimise the environmentally damaging industries of animal agriculture and fishing. This needs to change.
2.) Universities educate the leaders of our future and are the sites where much of our research and understanding of the climate crisis emerges. As such, they have a responsibility to act. More than 650 academics have called on British universities to commit to just and sustainable plant-based catering.8
3.) We are not asking for individual dietary change. We are asking the University to act upon the climate research that it is leading, and the SU to hold them accountable. Having declared a Climate Emergency in September 2019, the University of Warwick ‘committed to achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030 (Scope 1 & 2) and by 2050 (Scope 3).9
4.) A plant-based transition would fulfil the SU’s Ethical Eats Ethos policy. 10 Warwick Student’s Union has an unprecedented opportunity to align with its social and sustainability commitments by transitioning towards plant-based options. This would function as a statement of principle to help reduce animal suffering and to act on the climate emergency.
5.) Increased accessibility and measures to guarantee the genuine affordability of all food sold on campus must be at the heart of this transition.
This Union Resolves:
1.) For Warwick Students Union to publicly endorse the Plant Based Universities campaign and support student campaigning towards an achievable strategy for affordable, accessible and nutritious plant-based food at Warwick.
2.) To mandate the VP for Democracy & Development to start and oversee the transition of all student union outlets to a plant-based food system; to implement at least 50% plant-based food and drink options in SU outlets by the start of the next academic year (2024/25), and 100% by the start of the 2027/28 academic year.
a.) During this transition period, for all food & drink options in SU outlets to be explicitly labelled as vegan, vegetarian or non-vegetarian on menus;
b.) To end the plant-based milk surcharge & make plant-based milk the default option offered in SU outlets.
3.) To mandate the VP for Democracy & Development to start and maintain conversation with the university to transition all university licenced/owned outlets outside the direct control of Warwick SU to a plant-based food system, lobbying for at least 50% plant-based food & drink options to be in place by the start of the next academic year.
a.) Lobby Rootes Grocery Store to ensure at least 50% of meal deals, mains and snacks sold are plant-based.
b.) Lobby Rootes Grocery Store to ensure at least 50% of drinks sold are plant-based.
4.) To mandate the Environment and Ethics Officer to research and decide alternatives to the current animal products in the university's food system, with support from The Warwick Alt Protein Project.
5.) To mandate the Students’ Union to come out with a statement outlining the transition to an affordable plant-based food system.
6.) To work actively with Warwick Enable to ensure plant-based food is accessible to all, ensuring all menu items meet the varied needs of neurodivergent and disabled people.
7.) Should the university join us in facilitating this necessary transition, the Plant Based Universities campaign has professional support from catering and nutritional organisations to ensure changes are swift and easy.
a.) Plant-based health professionals will uphold the nutritional standards of food.
b.) Made in Hackney offer training to catering staff, facilitate menu innovation as well as climate footprint calculations and labelling for food items.11
https://www.chathamhouse.org/2014/12/livestock-climate-changes-forgotten-sector-globalpublic-opinion-meat-and-dairy-consumption; https://climatenexus.org/climate-issues/food/animal-agricultures-impact-on-climate-change/; https://www.nature.com/articles/s43016-021-00358-x
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/sep/04/hundreds-academics-call-for-meatfree-meals-british-universities#:~:text=1%20month%20old-,Hundreds%20of%20academics%2 0call%20for%20100%25%20plant,based%20meals%20at%20UK%20universities&text=More%2 0than%20650%20academics%20have,%2C%20moral%2C%20and%20scientific%20progress% E2%80%9D