Backing of Nature Restoration Law by EU Parliament opens up chance for farmers to transition to alternative protein crops
12 July 2023
Land required for biodiversity under EU Nature Restoration Law can be freed up by shift to more plant-rich diets
The European Parliament’s vote this week in favour of pushing forward the EU Nature Restoration Law opens up huge opportunities for the plant-based sector to deliver the much-needed space for Europe’s biodiversity to flourish.
The proposed law made it through the latest vote with 336 votes in favour and 300 against, with 13 abstentions.
“The goals of the Nature Restoration Law can be realised through helping farmers transition from livestock farming to alternative protein crops,” Lucia Hortelano, EU Policy Manager at ProVeg, said.
“So much land is used across Europe to grow animal feed and to provide grazing land for livestock. It is vital for the European Commission and Member States to use policy measures to encourage a transition to plant-rich diets to free up some of this land for nature and support farmers,” Hortelano said.
Currently, at least 71% of the EU’s farmland is used to feed livestock, according to research published by Greenpeace. Around 63% of arable land is dedicated to feeding farm animals.
“With the growing trend of plant-based food uptake1 among citizens across Europe, we can look to secure more land for biodiversity growing other crops to feed into the plant-based market,” Hortelano said.
A report published by ProVeg last year, called Amplifying Farmers’ Voices, explores a range of alternative-protein solutions for Europe’s farmers, along with farming perspectives on each one of them. ProVeg sees it as essential to support farmers implementing such changes.
There are wider implications too. Researchers have found that growing food exclusively for direct human consumption rather than as animal feed and biofuel production could potentially increase available food calories by as much as 70%, which could feed an additional 4 billion people.
What the law requires
Under the law, Member States would be required to develop national plans to restore at least 20% of EU land and sea by 2030, and repair all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. The law includes binding targets on farmland, sea bottoms, peatlands and pollinators.
The outcome of today’s vote means that the regulation will be sent back to the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) committee , where it had been previously voted down. If that committee moves it forward, the European Parliament can enter negotiations with EU Member States to create a compromise text that could be endorsed by both co-legislators.
Notes to Editors
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About ProVeg International
ProVeg International is a food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing 50% of animal products globally with plant-based and cultivated foods by 2040.
ProVeg engages with all relevant stakeholders to create a food system where everyone chooses delicious and healthy food that is good for all humans, animals, and our planet.
ProVeg has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award and works closely with key UN food and environment agencies. We have observer status with the UNFCCC and the IPCC, special consultative status with ECOSOC, and are accredited for UNEA.