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Cambridge Students’ Union Votes to Serve 100% Plant-Based Food

(Photo Credit: Jeremy Peters)

  • Cambridge University’s Students’ Union (SU) has voted to make its catering 100% plant-based. The Cambridge SU will now “serve fully plant-based food in all of its internal operations and at all events and meetings.”

  • The Cambridge SU noted that “burning fossil fuels and farming livestock are the main drivers of the climate emergency, which affects billions of people across the globe” and that “the worst effects of climate breakdown are already being experienced by those who have done the least to cause the damage.”

  • The Plant-Based Universities campaign has already had 11 successful votes, including last week at Newcastle University. Last year the Cambridge SU also voted to support the transition towards fully plant-based catering within the University Catering Services (UCS), which manages several cafeterias around the university [1] [2].

In a clear statement on definitive climate action, student representatives at the University of Cambridge have voted for 100% plant-based catering. The vote comes after a year of collaboration across several student groups, spearheaded by Plant-Based Cambridge - a grassroots Plant-Based Universities campaign working for plant-based catering across the University of Cambridge [3].

William Smith, 26, a campaigner for Plant-Based Cambridge said [4]: 

“After last year’s vote, it’s only logical that the SU should make their own catering fully plant-based too. The precedent it sets is important for climate action and environmental justice.

Across the board, universities are moving to recognise - and act on - the environmental destruction wrought by animal farming and fishing. We are excited to continue this work at Cambridge, engaging our peers and other university members.”

The motion passed by student representatives at the SU argued that fully plant-based catering would help the SU to combat environmental injustice and “dismantle its connections with industries that profit from the death and destruction of communities across the globe.” Campaigners also noted the disproportionate impact of climate breakdown on the world’s most vulnerable communities. 

Haley Huang, 20, a campaigner for Plant-Based Cambridge said: 

“All communities should have access to clean water and air, safe shelter and freedom from exploitation. Pollution and faecal waste from industrial livestock farms threaten human health and disproportionately harm people of colour and rural and low-income communities.

It’s up to us all to take steps to stop this from happening. Universities like Cambridge have the responsibility to step up and lead the way.”

Earlier this year, CamEATS ZERO, a University of Cambridge Working Group on sustainable food in colleges, also made “increasing the proportion of plant-based meals” its number one priority. As a first step, the initiative aims to make at least half of all meals served in Cambridge colleges plant-based. Their work so far has included chef training programs in plant-based cuisine from award-winning plant-based restaurant Stem & Glory and the Tipsy Vegan [5] [6]. 

Plant-Based Universities, an Animal Rising campaign, is an international initiative of students who are pushing for their universities and student unions to adopt 100% plant-based catering [7]. The group believes that universities have an obligation to follow the scientific research that they produce on the environmental impacts of animal farming and fishing. The campaign is active in over 80 institutions, with the group encouraging interested students to sign up to run local campaigns.


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Notes To Editors:

Independent proof of results can be obtained via

[3] The campaign works closely alongside Cambridge Zero, CamEATS ZERO, the Cambridge SU Ethical Affairs campaign and the Cambridge SU Black and Minority Ethnic Environmental Justice campaign.


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