V // Vegetarian, vegan
Vegetarian or also vegan dishes and also drinks make a considerable contribution to sustainability, and not only at an (event) catering. Animal products should not be demonized, but the use of imported beef from overseas should be critically examined. Of (domestic) cheese, too, by the way.
What is the increase in plant-based nutrition mainly about? For one thing, CO2 emissions and equivalents (CO2-eq.), rainforest vs. arable farming, and the environmental costs we create but don’t pay for with our consumption.
CO2-equ. – A classic plate meal with a portion size of about 500 g „emits“ about 1.4 kg CO2-equ. when composed of 50% meat, 25% pasta and 25% vegetables. If the components of the same portion are each adjusted to one-third, the emission is already reduced by 400 g; if the meat were omitted completely, the portion, consisting half of vegetables and pasta or so-called satiety side dishes, would only emit 270 g CO2-equ., i.e. the saving is a whopping 80 %.
Land consumption – With our current behavior, each of us occupies 2,900 m2 of agricultural land per year, 2,300 m2 of which is used for food production. A majority vegetarian diet would reduce this area by 23%, which is very desirable: the land we claim does not belong to us at all, or is virtual farmland and is located abroad. There, „our land share“ reduces the agricultural yield for feeding the local population.
Not bad, because the export earns money? Yes, with products that the local population cannot afford, such as a variety of tropical fruits. Much more glaring is the fact that rainforests, the lungs of the earth, are literally being consumed, i.e. they are being turned into farmland for growing mainly soybeans to feed livestock. 76% of the crop is used to feed livestock, only 6% of the global soybean crop is used as direct food for humans.
Environmental costs – are the costs incurred due to the environmental impacts of agriculture, i.e. a forest becomes cropland, the cropland then becomes pasture and is then left as fallow. If the environmental costs were calculated fairly, the regeneration of the land, in this case the reforestation of the forest, must be included and added to the product price. Currently, we only pay a higher price for „fair-trade“ products, so that the local producers are fairly remunerated, but the aftercare of the environment is not an essential part of the pricing here either.
P.S.: There was still that with the cheese: Because this consists mostly of cow’s milk, the balance of the animal life is reflected here and for the production of 1 kg cheese, depending upon sort, between 5,5 kg and 9,0 kg CO2-equ. are used. 1 kg of carrots are responsible for 0.1 kg of emissions.
Under these explained aspects, event catering should therefore pay attention to include more vegan and vegetarian dishes in order to keep the CO2 balance of any event as low as possible.
We would be happy to support you in the selection of suitable strategies for event catering. Our partner 2bdifferent is at your disposal for more information and suggestions: www.2bdifferent.de.