Diet for a Green Planet

In a nutshell

The food concept Diet for a Green Planet builds on five criteria which can be implemented anywhere in the world but results in different foods on the plate depending on location and season. The food concept offers a framework to serve healthy meals with a positive impact on environmental aspects such as climate, biodiversity, soil fertility, eutrophication and land use. To achieve these targets Diet for a Green Planet provides tested tools to support a transition to more organic food in season, tasty and healthy food with more vegetables, wholegrain and legumes, and less food waste. Examples of hands-on tools are: 1) working out seasonal food pyramids based on your location, 2) setting targets and follow-up schemes to substitute less sustainable food items with better options, and 3) organisational structure to improve delivery and motivate staff. There is also an international course for food professionals to get familiar with and implement the food concept in their setting, in addition to other resources such as a website with tools and videos explaining the concept.

Necessary Steps

Diet for a Green Planet is based on a systems perspective which acknowledges that in order to promote truly sustainable meals, we cannot work with one aspect of sustainability alone, e.g. climate impact of food, without considering other aspects such as biodiversity and eutrophication. Therefore, the five criteria of Diet for a Green Planet are interconnected and mutually dependent on each other for successful implementation. E.g., cutting back on meat volumes can make space in the budget to buy meat with higher animal welfare standards. Reducing waste and serving vegetables in season can be a way to reduce costs, and money saved this way can be used to procure more organic produce. And so on. The five criteria are:

  1. TASTY AND HEALTHY FOOD. A sustainable diet that is widely applied needs to be well prepared, well combined and healthy.
  2. ORGANIC, PREFERABLY FROM REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE. In the lack of products from ecological regenerative agriculture, EU-organic or nationally eco-labelled products can be used.
  3. LESS MEAT, MORE VEGETABLES, LEGUMES AND WHOLEGRAINS. A benchmark is a maximum of 10–20% meat, fish and egg of your total food intake. Choose meat from animals that have been raised with high animal welfare standards and fish from sustainable sources. Choose wholegrain products instead of refined grains. Wholegrain is more filling, nutrient-dense and creates less food waste.
  4. LOCALLY PRODUCED IN SEASON. Products produced in a sustainable and energy-efficient way close to their end-consumer are automatically in season. The definition of local varies for different products and markets. Max, 50–250 km from end-consumer, is a rough measure.
  5. LESS FOOD WASTE. Minimisation of waste through the whole chain of production, processing, distribution and preparation, and from your own plate.

More Issues To Consider

  • It will be helpful to have the local political support to implement a sustainability framework for public meals such as Diet for a Green Planet. However, a lot can be achieved without increase in budget.
  • At some point in the implementation process, it could be you discover need to transform other aspects, such as the organisational set-up of the meal service.
  • Many tools and strategies developed by other actors can contribute to successful implementation of Diet for a Green Planet.
  • There are two educational programmes for professionals to get training in Diet for a Green Planet. One in Sweden and one international, hosted by Novia University of Applied Sciences in Finland.

Further Information

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