Climate research should be made accessible to consumers on food labels, say UK health practitioners.
In a new report the campaigning group UK Health Alliance on Climate Change urges a change in food habits to reduce climate impact.
The Alliance’s membership includes the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of General Practitioners, the British Medical Association, the British Medical Journal and The Lancet.
Its recommendations include:
- Food labelling allowing consumers to make sustainable choices. It says research should be commissioned into the most effective way to provide this.
- Climate messages in existing diet-related public information campaigns, along with support for health professionals.
- Post Brexit trade agreements must include a clause requiring imports to meet UK environmental standards.
- All food procured through public funds must meet environmental standards. This would help to shift the market’s priorities.
“We must reconsider our attitudes to food”
In launching the report, Professor Andrew Goddard, President of the Royal College of Physicians, said, “It’s clear that if we are to avoid dangerous levels of global warming we must start to reconsider our attitudes to food – which accounts for a quarter of total greenhouse gas emissions.
“The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change’s survey shows that a majority of health professionals agree, and it’s hugely encouraging that 40% have already taken action by changing their eating habits.”
Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, Ambassador of the Alliance, said, “Most activity to limit climate change has focused on decarbonising energy and transportation.
“This is very important, but we mustn’t overlook the potential to mitigate the dangerous health effects of climate change by rethinking our approach to food.
“To achieve this, as the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change recommends health professionals must be supported to share, and direct their patients to, clear and accessible advice on transitioning to a more climate-friendly diet.”