New Zealand disprove IPCC: no “veg” diets

New Zealand, India and Kenya replaced the expression “plant-based foods” in the IPCC report’s summaries with the definition “balanced and sustainable healthy diets”.

New Zealand removed from the synthesis of the latest IPCC report all references to the “need for plant-based diets” to resolve climate change. This has been decided by New Zealand diplomats, following the considerable and increasing evidence that a drastic shift towards purely plant-based diets is useless for environmental purposes. On the contrary, the promotion of plant-based diets as the only solution seems to protect the real significant polluters of the planet, such as transport and industries, still based on energy obtained from fossil fuels.

So, the New Zealand diplomats removed the statement “need for plant-based diets” from the summary of the latest IPCC report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This step is very relevant, as the resume is the most read part of each IPCC report, with almost 3,000 pages. Indeed, the latest IPCC report stated that switching to plant-based diets, such as vegan and vegetarian diets, is one of the most effective measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But, following more in-depth studies, this is not the case. That is why New Zealand has replaced, in summary, the expression “plant-based foods” in favour of the definition “balanced and sustainable healthy diets”, which is more consistent with the reality of the facts.

#NewZealand removed from the synthesis of the latest #IPCCreport all references to the need for #PlantBased #diets to resolve #ClimateChange. Click To Tweet

The definition of “sustainable and balanced diets” considers the whole lifestyle of people, including all dimensions of health and well-being. A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Environment approved this change in terminology. The term “sustainable healthy diets” was also used by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization. As also written by FAO and WHO, the “sustainable and balanced diets” take into account the low environmental impact, accessibility, safety, and respect for the culture of people.

A “healthy, balanced and sustainable diet” also refers to comprehensive diets that present plant-based foods, such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and animal source foods of higher nutritional value. And they must be produced in resilient, sustainable, low-greenhouse-gas systems. According to New Zealand diplomats, this is the right path to follow, promoting lifestyles that can significantly reduce emissions, including the fight against excessive consumption, food loss, and over-production of waste.

India and Kenya have also joined New Zealand in removing the reference to vegan and vegetarian diets. We hope that more and more countries are finally aware of how things are for our health and the planet.


The "Sustainable Meats" Project aims to identify the key topics, the state of knowledge and the most recent technical scientific trends, with the aim of showing that meat production and consumption can be sustainable, both for health and for the environment.