September 2020: London School of Economics Students’ Union takes beef off the menu

Beef is one of the most greenhouse-gas intensive foods that exist. The London School of Economics Student’s Union owns two restaurants, one of which used to serve beef pies and beef meatball dishes. On 4 September 2020, the Trustee Board of the LSE Students’ Union informed us that it will no longer order beef, and take all beef-based items off the menu as soon as old stocks are depleted. This means that one out of five establishments on campus have de-beefed their menu, while six did not serve beef anyways in 2019/20. Three of the five are owned by the university, and continue to be lobbied by Food4Thought LSE representatives. The other one is privately owned.

  • Success: LSE Student’s Union stops serving beef soon after the beginning of the 2020/21 academic year.

February 2020: London School of Economics Students’ Union votes to take beef off the menu

In February 2020, the Food4Thought campaign at London School of Economics (LSE) submitted a motion to the LSE Students’ Union (SU). The motion demanded to take beef – the most environmentally damaging animal product – off the menu at SU catering outlets, and to lobby LSE to do the same at the outlets owned by the university. Additionally, the motion asked for a gradual phase-out of all animal-based options and for replacing them with plant-based food.

  • Success: The motion was passed with 59% of votes and turnout similar to other past LSE SU motions. This got us into ongoing talks with LSE management.
  • Public reception: The LSE student newspaper gave the motion overall positive coverage, with one negative comment article, two positive comment articles, and one positive article written by the Food4Thought LSE team. The UK national newspaper Daily Mail reported about the vote online.
Cattle in the Amazon, in an area embargoed by the Brazilian government (Ibama), in Aripuana MT, Brazil. Credits: Bruno Kelly / Greenpeace

January 2020: University of the West of Scotland guarantees plant-based options

In January 2019, the Food4Thought team at The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) begun meeting with the catering operations manager at the Paisley campus. As a first step, they agreed to add a plant-based option to their menu every day. UWS is made up of four campuses across the west of Scotland, and this decision is effective across three of them: Ayr, Lanarkshire, and Paisley.

Not only was this a necessary step for justice and sustainability, a tribunal has since ruled that veganism is a philosophical belief. This means it is now enshrined in Great British (not Northern Irish) law that vegans must not be discriminated against in the workplace, in education and in the supply of goods and services. As this is applicable to catering providers, we can use this in our campaigning going forward to ensure that plant-based options are provided across all educational establishments in Great Britain. Read more about the ruling here.

  • Success: Plant-based food is now offered every day instead of occasionally at three out of four UWS campuses.

Soybean sprouts