Good Food Governance

Bristol has signed the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration, to be presented at COP26 this week

By Hannah Bush

Hannah Bush, Sustainability Project Manager for Food at Bristol City Council

Hannah Bush, Sustainability Project Manager for Food at Bristol City Council, writes the latest Bristol Bites Back Better blog about the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration; what it means for Bristol and other cities; and the importance of the climate impacts of food and farming being part of the COP26 agenda.

This Saturday 6 November the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration will be presented at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). I am proud to say that Bristol City Council is a signatory of this declaration, which is a commitment by sub-national governments to tackle the climate emergency through integrated food policies. It is also a much needed call on national governments to act. The day will celebrate local leadership towards more sustainable food systems, presenting a welcome opportunity to place food, and particularly policy and local action, at the heart of the global climate response.   

With the global food system widely recognised as a major driver of harmful greenhouse gas emissions and ecological decline, and estimates suggesting that nearly 80% of all the food produced in the world is consumed in urban areas, there’s no denying that cities especially have a crucial role to play in developing more sustainable and climate-friendly food systems.

Recognising the importance of this, Bristol City Council was an early signatory to the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration with the Mayor signing on behalf of Bristol to coincide with the declaration’s initial launch in December 2020. This followed two other major city strategies in the same year:

  • Bristol’s One City Climate Strategy (February 2020) which sets out the action needed to achieve the city’s ambition to be carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2030. Food is integrated as one of ten key themes within this.
  • Bristol’s One City Ecological Emergency Strategy (September 2020) which recognises the equally urgent need for nature recovery by reducing our consumption of (food) products that undermine the health of wildlife and ecosystems around the world.

Within the council our Sustainable City and Climate Change Service is leading on the delivery of a Climate and Ecological Emergency Programme to ensure the ambitions of the Climate Strategy and the Ecological Emergency Strategy are met.

Bristol Gold Food City contributors

A key milestone in this programme was Bristol achieving Gold Sustainable Food City status in June of this year, making Bristol one of only two cities in the UK to achieve the prestigious Sustainable Food Places Gold Award. The council was a lead coordinating partner in Bristol’s ‘Going for Gold’ initiative, working alongside Bristol Food NetworkBristol Green Capital Partnership, and Resource Futures.

While the award is a wonderful recognition of a wealth of incredible work across the city, both in the council and beyond (do give the Gold submission a read if you haven’t already, it’s inspiring!) and worthy of much celebration, the accolade marks an important step in what we need to be a transformative decade of action on food.

Building on the momentum of getting the gold award, at the council we’re committed to continuing to be an active member of our city’s food partnership. Immediate next steps include the development of an inclusive and comprehensive One City Good Food Plan that integrates food system issues alongside our other city priorities and policies, while also providing a clear action plan to deliver the food goals in the One City Plan and responding to the climate and ecological emergencies.

We are also working hard to embed Bristol’s ‘gold’ status throughout our council services and policies. Being a signatory to the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration gives us a solid footing for this next phase of work and reinforces our commitment, providing us with a useful framework to work to.

It will be great to see how other signatory cities take action and exciting to think about what we can all learn from each other. One thing you discover working on food and sustainability is how interconnected our food systems are, from production, supply and transportation, through to purchasing, consumption and waste, which is why coming together on these issues at a city level is vital.

By setting the wheels in motion now, together we can transform the future of food in our city, building in resilience over the next decade. So, what change do you want to see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.

Join the conversation

So, what change do you want to see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.

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