Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Finnish capital to phase out meat altogether to reduce carbon dioxide emissions

A media representative works at the media center during the COP26 conference in Glasgow. Photo by Yves Herman / Reuters

HELSINKI. The Finnish capital says it will no longer serve meat dishes at seminars, staff meetings, receptions and other events to reduce Helsinki’s carbon footprint.

Instead, the city government plans to offer vegetarian food and organic local fish.

Liisa Kivela, director of public relations for Helsinki, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the changes will take effect in January and will not affect school and canteens operated by the city of about 650,000 residents.

Kivisto said the policies adopted by the city council also allow for deviations for certain “high-level visits or similar events” organized by Helsinki Mayor Juhana Vartiainen or the city’s top leadership.

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The policy also stipulates that coffee, tea, oat milk, and products such as bananas offered at events must be purchased from fair trade producers. In addition, snacks and soft drinks can no longer be served in disposable containers.

The local government said the measure is part of a broader effort “to reduce the impact of food on the climate and reduce the amount of natural resources used by the city.”

The mayor, who took over the top job in Helsinki in August, said he was glad the city could still serve meat in some cases.

“For example, if the king of Sweden comes to visit, then a home game may be offered. Or some group for which it would be natural to offer meat, then there should be prudence and common sense, ”Vartiainen told the Finnish newspaper Iltalehti.

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