Healthier, plant-based foods should be made more available for the benefit of people and planet

Press release - March 6, 2018
6 March 2018, Amsterdam – According to a new study, healthier, plant-based foods should be made more available to consumers while at the same time loosening the grip of industrial animal agriculture on our food systems by helping farmers shift towards ecological farming of healthy produce. The study finds that greenhouse gas emissions from our food systems, if left unchecked, will represent more than half of the total global emissions associated with human activities.

Global meat and dairy production and consumption must be cut in half by 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change and keep the Paris Agreement on track, says the new report from Greenpeace. If left unchecked, agriculture is projected to produce 52% of global greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades, 70% of which will come from meat and dairy. [1]

In response to the rising impacts of animal agriculture on public health, the environment, and the climate, Greenpeace is launching a new global campaign calling for a major shift in the way we eat and the way we farm. Greenpeace calls for a 50% reduction of meat and dairy and a significant increase of plant-based food in both production and consumption by 2050.

The report also finds that increased production and consumption of meat is behind a latent global health crisis. High red meat consumption has been linked to cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, while millions of lives could be saved each year if people had access to a diet rich in plant-based foods. Industrial animal agriculture is also associated with antimicrobial resistance - which the World Health Organization declared a “global health emergency” - and is a significant source of foodborne pathogens. [2]

Bunny McDiarmid, Executive Director of Greenpeace International said:

“Something is rotten in our food system. Governments continue to support massive meat and dairy operations, leading to more and more meat consumption while putting our health, our children’s health, and the health of our planet at risk. Instead, they should be supporting the increasing numbers of farmers shifting towards ecological production of healthy foods, and helping people access healthy plant-based foods.

“A new, diverse global movement is growing: one hungry for a better way of eating and producing food that is in tune with ourselves and the environment. Together, we can loosen the grip of industrial animal agriculture on our food system and build a healthier world for our generation and the next.” 

Pete Smith, Former Convening Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said:

“The need to reduce demand for livestock products is now a scientifically mainstream view. Only a significant decrease in meat and milk consumption will allow us to deliver a food system fit for the future – for the benefit of humans and the planet as a whole. Producing the same mix of foods as we consume now, even if we were to do so more sustainably, cannot deliver the reduction in environmental impacts we need to protect the planet for our children and their children.”

The report also explores other environmental impacts of animal agriculture’s rapid expansion in the last several decades. Since 1970, the Earth has lost half of its wildlife but tripled its livestock population. Livestock production now occupies 26% of land on Earth. [3]

Greenpeace calls on governments to end policies that support industrial meat and dairy production, and instead help farmers shift towards ecological methods of growing crops and raising an amount of livestock that the planet can sustain. Greenpeace also urges governments to make healthy, plant-based foods more available, and calls on people around the world to join the movement for less meat and dairy and a healthier planet.

In the Philippines, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute(FNRI) noted the decline in the fruits and vegetable intake and the increase in meat and eggs consumption of the Filipinos. Combined per capita consumption of fruits and vegetables of Filipinos is 155 grams, as opposed to the 400 grams per day recommendation of the World Food Health Organization [4].

Also, for a country highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, this shift in eating habit contributes to increasing industrial livestock production which in turn leads to increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission. Livestock is one of the major sources of GHG emission in the Philippines’ agriculture sector, second only to rice. In the 1994 GHG inventory, total emission from domestic livestock accounted for 32% of the country’s total GHG emission [5].

“What we decide to eat, as individuals and as a global society, is one of the most powerful tools we have in the fight against climate change and environmental destruction,” added McDiarmid.


[1]  Less is More: Reducing Meat and Dairy for a Healthier Life and Planet, Greenpeace International.

[2] World Health Organization,

[3] Less is More: Reducing Meat and Dairy for a Healthier Life and Planet, Greenpeace International.

[4] National Nutrition Council 2017 Nutrition Month Talking Points

[5] p.79,

Read our vision, Less is more: reducing meat and dairy for a healthier life and planet, and the scientific background  here:

Images available here:


Dawn Bickett, Meat and Dairy Comms Lead, Greenpeace International (based in the US): , +1 510 552 4984

Christina Koll, Meat and Dairy Comms Lead, Greenpeace Nordic (based in Denmark): , +45 2810 9021

Greenpeace International Press Desk (available 24 hours):
, +31 (0) 20 718 2470

For Philippine media, contact:

Virginia Benosa Llorin, Food and Ecological Agriculture Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines
, +63 998 582 6617

Angelica Carballo Pago, Media Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines
, +63 949 889 1332