Bloomberg has committed to serve more climate-friendly foods through the Cool Food Pledge, a growing movement of workplaces, hotels, hospitals and restaurants aiming to slash food-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25% by 2030. Groups serving a combined 800+ million meals annually have already signed on to this new initiative.
In 2018 Bloomberg purchased 429 tons of food, of which 7% were ruminant meats (beef and lamb), and another 65% other animal-based foods. Total food-related GHG emissions amounted to 13,735 tons CO2e, with ruminant meats accounting for 57% of these.
Working closely with World Resources Institute (WRI), which serves as secretariat of the Cool Food Pledge, Bloomberg will implement a number of menu changes in its New York and New Jersey-based offices’ catering and cafeterias. These offices are serviced by food services company Sodexo and cater to over 11,000 employees. Changes include incorporating more plant-based ingredients into Bloomberg’s menu and implementing Meatless Monday across the company’s food service operations.
“Sustainability sits at the core of our business operations. At Bloomberg we continually seek out innovative ways to power our business with renewable energy, lower our emissions and reduce waste. By signing on to the Cool Food Pledge we are making the commitment to reducing our food provision-related GHG emissions,” said Beth Mazzeo, Bloomberg’s Chief Administrative Officer. “Incorporating more sustainable, plant-based food options into our menus is a great opportunity to meet the evolving palates and dietary needs of our employees and guests. It is also a critical step in reducing agriculture’s pressure on the climate.”
“Agriculture accounts for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions globally. To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, people have to eat differently. It’s that simple,” said Daniel Vennard, Director at World Resources Institute. “The groups signed on to the Cool Food Pledge are showing that dining is where sustainability efforts come alive. It’s incredibly exciting because the potential impact is huge.”
Globally, producing animal-based foods accounts for two-thirds of agricultural GHG emissions and more than three-quarters of agricultural land use, while plant-based foods generally have lower environmental impacts. Per gram of protein, beef uses 20 times more land and generates 20 times more greenhouse gas emissions than beans, for example. According to WRI’s research, the average American could cut their diet-related environmental impacts by nearly half just by reducing overconsumption of calories and protein, especially beef, and by shifting to more nutritionally balanced diets.
In addition to Bloomberg, over 25 other workplaces, hotels, hospitals and restaurants are signatories to the Cool Food Pledge including BASF, Farmers Restaurant Group, Harvard University, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, IKEA, the city of Milan, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Morgan Stanley and the World Bank Group.
Preliminary data indicates that if current pledge signatories collectively hit the 25% reduction target by 2030, they will avoid more than 800,000 tonnes CO2e of food-related GHG emissions annually. This is the equivalent to taking more than 170,000 cars off the road.
The Cool Food Pledge is an initiative of World Resources Institute, UN Environment, Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, Health Care Without Harm, Practice Greenhealth, Climate Focus, EAT, and the Sustainable Restaurant Association. The Cool Food Pledge is supported by Sodexo, which promotes the pledge’s activities in the dining facilities it serves globally.
How the pledge works:
- Pledge: Signatories commit to a collective target of reducing diet-related GHG emissions associated with the food they serve by 25% by 2030 relative to 2015—a level of ambition in line with keeping global warming below 1.5⁰C. The Cool Food team advises signatories on how to gather the necessary data and monitor progress.
- Plan: The Cool Food team helps signatories and their catering companies develop plans for serving more climate-friendly food while meeting other dining-related targets (e.g. number of diners, financial performance, nutrition). The Cool Food Pledge also connects signatories or their catering companies with a network of organizations producing innovative products, solutions and training to achieve more sustainable diets.
- Promote: The Cool Food team will publish the collective performance of companies against the GHG target annually.