Food production is a significant contributor to climate change, accounting for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

Some foods generate more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than others. Food that comes from animals make up two-thirds of all agricultural GHG emissions and use more than three-quarters of agricultural land. Plant-based foods generally have a much lower environmental impact. Simple changes to diets and enjoying more plant-based foods can make a substantial difference for the climate.

Cool Food is committed to helping businesses and organizations cut the climate impact of the food they serve. Our efforts are already impacting millions of meals a day.  

If you are a business looking to reduce the impact of the food you serve, there are two ways you can help make a difference: by taking the Cool Food Pledge or through labeling Cool Food Meals on your menu. Diners can look out for the Cool Food Meals badge when they shop or dine out. 

The Cool Food Pledge helps your organization commit to and achieve a science-based target to reduce the climate impact of the food you serve. Organizations serving 940 million meals a year have signed up.  

Members are guided through a three-step approach: Pledge, Plan and Promote. Members commit to a target of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the food they serve by 25% by 2030 relative to a 2015 baseline —a level of ambition in line with achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Informed by the pioneering work of the Better Buying Lab, our Cool Food team guides members through a strategic planning process to serve more climate-friendly food while meeting other dining-related targets.  

Finally, the Cool Food Pledge team works with members to create inspiring messaging that engages diners and employees, and promotes their achievements to press, on social media and at an annual event. Members of the Cool Food Pledge include hospitals, cities, universities, companies, restaurants and more.  

The Cool Food Meals badge is a simple, effective and exciting way of communicating to consumers which dishes on a menu are climate friendly. Cool Food Meals have a low carbon footprint, already meeting the level of food-related emissions should have by 2030, as indicated by our research. Using an ingredients list, WRI calculates a dish’s carbon footprint by analyzing the agricultural supply chain and land used to produce the meal. If the carbon footprint falls below an established per-meal threshold and meets nutritional standards, it is certified as a Cool Food Meal. Launched in October 2020, Panera Bread is the first restaurant to feature the Cool Food Meals badge on its menu.


The Cool Food Pledge is an initiative of WRI, UN Environment, Climate Focus, Healthcare Without Harm, Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, Practice Greenhealth, EAT, and Sustainable Restaurant Association.


Photo Credit: Push Thinking