Adoption of the C40 Good Food Cities Declaration as a means to combat consumption-based emissions


The C40 good Food Cities Declaration is a concept aimed at achieving a planetary health diet for all. The planetary health diet is a global reference diet for adults symbolically represented by half a plate of fruits, vegetables and nuts.

The other half consists of primarily whole grains, plant proteins (beans, lentils, pulses), unsaturated plant oils, modest amounts of meat and dairy, and some added sugars and starchy vegetables.

The diet is quite flexible and allows for adaptation to dietary needs, personal preferences and cultural traditions. Vegetarian and vegan diets are two healthy options within the planetary health diet but are personal choices. The ‘Planetary Health Diet’ could save 11 million lives each year, if adopted universally, while dramatically reducing emissions and supporting a global population of 10Bn people.

14 global cities

According to a press release by the C40 Cities (NY), 14 global cities committed to the C40 Good Food Cities Declaration, in order to promote and preserve the health of citizens and the health of the planet. As such, mayors of the respective cities have pledged to work with their citizens to achieve a ‘Planetary Health Diet’ for all by 2030. This is with balanced and nutritious food, reflective of the culture, geography, and demography of their citizens. The press release explains that mayors will use their procurement powers to change what kind of food cities buy, and introduce policies that make healthy, delicious and low-carbon food affordable and accessible for all. They’ll also reduce food loss and wasted food.

The cities signing the C40 Good Food Cities Declaration are Barcelona, Copenhagen, Guadalajara, Lima, London, Los Angeles, Milan, Oslo, Paris, Quezon City, Seoul, Stockholm, Tokyo and Toronto. The pledge was made at the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen.

Research released by C40 Cities in June 2019, revealed that food is among the biggest sources of consumption-based emissions from cities. As such, eating a sustainable diet and avoiding food waste could cut greenhouse gas emissions from the food we eat by more than 60%.The planetary health diet is comprised of balanced and nutritious food providing up to 2,500 calories a day for all adults, not to exceed 16kg of meat per person per year or ~300g per week, and 90kg of dairy per person per year or ~250g per day, and low in ultra-processed food.

In addition to aligning food procurement policies to the Planetary Health Diet ideally sourced from organic agriculture, cities under the C40 Good Food Cities Declaration commit to support an overall increase of healthy plant-based food consumption in our cities by shifting away from unsustainable, unhealthy diets. In addition, they will work to ensure a reduction in food loss and waste by 50% from 2015 figures while working with citizens, businesses, public institutions and other organizations to develop a joint strategy for implementing these measures and achieving these goals. The cities will also be tasked with incorporating the strategy into the city’s Climate Action Plan.

These 14 signatory cities serve 500m meals per year – in schools, hospitals, and other public buildings, and are improving availability and affordability of delicious, nutritious and sustainable food for their 64 million citizens. The C40 Good Food Cities Declaration will therefore directly benefit millions of people and provide a clear signal to the market that there is great demand for healthy, delicious and sustainable food.  Cities are leading efforts to change the way food is produced and consumed.