Meat-free Taiwan reported surprising progress on Monday, making a commitment from the public sector – vegetarianism

At the end of 2022, Taiwan’s Meat-Free Monday organization announced that it had succeeded in inviting more than 100 political candidates to sign its veg-friendly pledge for Taiwan’s 2022 elections.

A few months later, the group took further steps in its political campaign and launched Taiwan’s first Earth Day March on April 22 to raise awareness of the importance of a sustainable, plant-based diet to the government and public.

The march attracted more than 2,000 members of the public, including more than 160 organizations, 2 legislators, 8 city/county mayors and chairpersons of county and city councils, meaning a total of more than 40 influential politicians responded to the adoption. sustainable food.

Taiwan's March with Vegetarians is a banner of love
Photo courtesy of Meat-Free Monday Taiwan

The organizer of the event, Chang Yu-chuan, organizer of Meat Free Monday Taiwan, noted that consuming a sustainable diet for one day can reduce carbon emissions by 2.4 kilograms per person per day. A day’s plant-based diet for all Taiwanese has the equivalent impact of 4,866 1600cc cars circling the globe.

Legislator Chen Shuhua emphasized that the Legislative Yuan passed the climate bill in January this year, and on May 18th the Legislative Yuan held its first public hearing on sustainable food issues.

Taiwan’s first public hearing for plant-based policy changes

Taiwan’s parliament held its first public hearing on adopting a sustainable plant-based diet in response to climate change on May 18. About 40 non-governmental advocacy groups, including the Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, and the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) also participated.

Shuhua, the mayor of Taiwan
Photo courtesy of Meat-Free Monday Taiwan

The hearing conducts reviews and policy recommendations for various government departments that respond to climate change but ignores the promotion of a low-carbon plant-based diet.

Ten conclusions and actions were agreed upon from the public hearing:

  • Request the Agriculture and Environmental Protection Administration Council to propose a plan to “transition to alternative proteins” within two months, including planning, indicators, schedules, budgets, cooperation, and governmental integration.
  • Request the Agricultural Council and the Ministry of Health and Welfare to propose a mileage reduction plan for meat and dairy foods within two months, taking into account the national situation and referring to the recommendations of the British Climate Change Committee.
  • Request the Agriculture Council to propose a promotion plan for “Animal Welfare” and “Climate and Food Education” in Food and Agriculture Education within two months, including indicators, schedule, funding and cooperation.
  • Request the Council on Agriculture and Environmental Protection Administration to obtain carbon rights for farmers within two months, assess the carbon footprint of organic and conventional crops, and encourage the adoption of low-carbon plant-based foods.
  • Request the Environmental Protection Administration to discuss the social, economic, and industrial uses of the designated Greenhouse Gas Management Fund for sustainable and healthy food and submit a planning report within two months.
  • Request the Ministry of Education to submit a report on the promotion of “Campus Sustainable Low-Carbon Veggie Day” within two months with measures to reduce food waste.
  • Request the Ministry of Health and Welfare to cooperate with the Ministry of Education in implementing healthy plant-based food education endorsed by plant-based nutritionists and submit a written report within two months.
  • Request the Environmental Protection Administration to re-evaluate the “Carbon Footprint Information Network” or establish a “Food Carbon Footprint Database” based on the “Food Nutrient Composition Database of the Food and Drug Administration” and submit an evaluation and planning report within two months.
  • Request the Ministry of Health and Welfare to discuss the adoption of plant-based dietary guidelines to replace the Daily Dietary Guidelines within two months.
  • Recommend to the National Development Council, the Financial Supervisory Commission, the Environmental Protection Administration, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs to discuss the feasibility of including the carbon reduction benefits of food in corporate ESG indicators and sustainability reports.
Public hearings in Taiwan
Photo courtesy of Meat-Free Monday Taiwan

The founder of this public hearing, Dr. Ching-fen Pai, executive director of Taiwan’s Sustainable Diet Research Institute, pointed out that the Sixth Climate Change Assessment Report released by the IPCC in March this year clearly revealed that the world must accelerate. The pace of climate action, ranging from socio-economic change. According to this report, Dr. Pai suggests that if the government adopts the SSP 1 (Sustainable) policy, there is more scope to reverse the situation. The IPCC also clarified that adopting food strategies that are sustainable and healthy (all plant-based), starting from individual levels of food, have the potential to reduce carbon emissions by 44% by 2050.

Dr. Pai also said that although Taiwan amended the climate bill this February and recently formulated 12 key strategies for Taiwan’s 2050 net zero emissions, this does not mean that the relevant regulations and policies are immutable. He suggested that revisions to regulations and policies still need to keep pace with time and conduct rolling reviews to reflect climate change. It was an important mission for policy makers to improve the status of sustainable and healthy food in response to the latest reports and situations. Only by working together from the social, economic and industrial levels can the goals of sustainable development be optimized and truly realized.

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