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Low carbon food options can contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
(WASHINGTON, DC) –September 21, 2022 — Today the District joined the worldwide Cool Food Pledge, committing to slash District Government food- and beverage-related greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2030. The District joins a network of global cities, workplaces, hospitals, and restaurants in harnessing their purchasing power to provide meals that are healthy and climate-friendly.
“Our food system accounts for a third of global carbon emissions today. The District is taking the next step in doing our part by tackling the carbon footprint of what we buy, starting with the meals we serve to our students and seniors,” said Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) Director Tommy Wells. “Mayor Bowser’s vision for a Sustainable DC is a healthy, green, liveable city for all residents. We are proud to join in the global movement that prioritizes purchasing high-quality, nutritious meals that are also helping to grow our local green economy and fight climate change.”
The Cool Food Pledge is led by the World Resources Institute (WRI). The District joins more than 60 organizations that serve approximately 3.6 billion meals each year. Recently published data indicate that if the current signatories collectively hit the 25% reduction target by 2030, it would reduce annual food-related emissions by 1,314,572 tons of carbon, equivalent to taking roughly 285,000 cars off the road.
The District’s participation in this global pledge directly supports implementation of the D.C. Green Food Purchasing Amendment Act of 2021, which requires the District Government to assess the carbon footprint of its food and beverage purchases and reduce it 25% by 2030 through best practices. In collaboration with the global leadership network and WRI, the District Government will develop a plan to meet that target, regularly report progress, and promote the steps agencies are taking to provide quality, delicious, and climate-friendly meals.
Signing onto the Cool Food Pledge is the most recent in a series of actions the District has taken targeting the nexus of food, climate, and sustainability:
- As a signatory of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact and recipient of a 2019 Food Is Medicine award, the District is striving to implement an inclusive, resilient, and safe community that provides healthy and affordable food while adapting to and mitigating impacts of climate change.
- The District’s signing of the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration in 2021 deepens its commitment to fight the global climate crisis by working with other city leaders worldwide to highlight the importance of local food systems.