The Plant-Based Edinburgh Campaign has submitted a motion at this month’s EUSA Student Council Meeting that would see a transition towards fully plant-based catering across all EUSA venues.
The proposed motion would see a gradual transition to plant-based food with an aim to see a 100 per cent switch by the 2026-2027 academic year.
Citing the need to globally limit warming to 1.5°C, Plant Based Edinburgh have called on Edinburgh University to uphold their commitments to a carbon neutral campus.
The University of Edinburgh is currently committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2040.
Plant Based Edinburgh however argue that this is not achievable whilst animal products are still being served.
The motion would also achieve progress toward the aims outlined in EUSA’s Sustainability and Action Plan.
Plant-Based Edinburgh is a division of the UK wide organisation Plant-Based Universities, which is active across 40 education institutes.
In their proposed motion, Plant-based Edinburgh cite that the national campaign has professional support from three catering and nutritional organisations.
The cooperation from ProVeg, Plant-Based Health Professionals and Forward Food would ensure an easy transition to plant-based catering offering training to catering staff.
These companies are willing to provide these services free of charge which would keep the cost of the transition down meaning prices should be affordable.
In relation to prices, Plant-based Edinburgh also cites the lower cost of plant-based ingredients relative to animal-based ones.
Plant-based Edinburgh also highlighted that their motion had nationwide precedence.
Universities including Cambridge, Queen Mary University London, and the University of Kent have all voted to make a transition to 100% plant-based catering.
Edinburgh City Council also endorsed a similar campaign in January called the Plant-Based Treaty which acknowledged the effects of animal agriculture on the climate crisis.
In 2020, a similar motion that aimed to conduct a feasibility study of the cessation of beef sales was proposed.
The motion failed with 58 per cent voting against, largely the result of people misinterpreting the proposal, mistaking it for an outright ban on the sale of beef.
Speaking to The Student, Plant-based Edinburgh stated the need for the University to uphold their commitments to the climate crisis.
They stated that ‘as a producer of scientific research it would be hypocritical for the University not to follow their own science’.
Citing the recent IPCC report, they stressed the inefficiency of agricultural land use noting that 58 per cent of the UK’s land is used for this purpose.
Animal agriculture is also responsible for 32 per cent of methane in the atmosphere.
Plant-Based Edinburgh also noted that the motion would be in the interest of all students creating affordable, healthy and sustainable options across the University Campus.
They also highlight that under the proposed motion the student’s body would be consulted on any changes to the menu.
Clarifying that all plant-based options would be sustainable, Plant-Based Edinburgh noted that they’re advocating for ‘Plant based menus, not avocado based menus’.
They added that climate footprint calculations would be added to the menu to help students make informed sustainable choices.
The motion will be voted on at this month’s EUSA student council meeting held this Thursday 30 March.