Sustainable Development Goals


Meat-free meetings on campus to benefit health and the environment

The UCL community is embracing the ‘Powered by Plants’ campaign to raise awareness of the environmental and health benefits provided by plant-based diets.

SDG Case study G3.4 Pals Veggie

8 October 2020

An increasing number of departments at UCL have begun offering 100 per cent vegetarian food options at their events and meetings, in recognition of the benefits that eating less meat can have on health and the environment.  

Scientific evidence suggests that reducing our meat consumption improves our health and lowers the risk of some of the leading causes of death today, including cardiovascular disease, some cancers, Type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer. 

Reducing meat consumption would also have a positive impact on the climate. The Lancet Countdown, an international collaboration Health tracking progress on health and climate change led by the UCL Institute for Global found that the meat and dairy industry produces 60 per cent of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.  

The campaign began when the Sustainability Champions within UCL Psychology and Language Sciences asked whether their department could provide 100 per cent vegetarian catering at their events and meetings. ”We felt this would enhance the health and wellbeing of staff and students and would be a positive action in face of the Climate Emergency,” says John Draper (UCL PALS). 

An increasing number of UCL departments have since followed their lead. “We estimate that if all our departments switched to 100 per cent vegetarian catering, UCL’s food emissions would be reduced by 40 per cent, saving around 5,000 tonnes of CO2 a year – equivalent to taking 1,000 cars off the road,” John adds.