The last few years have been pretty epic for the vegan movement.
New products and trends have been unstoppable – our statistics page can give you the full lowdown, but it’s safe to say that veganism reached a new level in the last decade. Whilst there’s always a worry that the movement will peak, it shows no signs of a slowdown with the abundance of scientific evidence telling us that veganism is a positive choice for people, planet and animals.
So, what’s on the cards for The Vegan Society in 2020? How do we adapt to this changing landscape, bringing more people to veganism, and encouraging a system change that will support a vegan future? Well, we certainly have a lot on our plate for the year ahead, and here’s a taster of what we’ll be up to.
Buoyed by this success, we’re kicking off the year with a bang, with our partnership with one of the most successful vegan campaigns, Veganuary. We’re hosting Pop Up for the Planet, a month-long pop up in east London, promoting the environmental benefits of a vegan diet and encouraging people to sign up to eat vegan for the month of January.
We closed 2019 with a celebration of our 75th anniversary and the launch of our new Vegan and Thriving campaign. The campaign aimed to reassure people that a vegan diet can be healthy, and to provide bite-sized nutritional facts and well-balanced recipes. We had a great response and will be continuing to promote our video content in the first couple of months of the year, when we know that health is front of mind.
For the last few years, The Vegan Society has been talking about the environmental benefits of veganism. In the context of the climate crisis, we know this is a driver for both individual behaviour change, and action at policy level. We’ll be continuing to do this with our Plate Up for the Planet campaign in the Autumn, and are hoping to have a BIG presence at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) when it is hosted by the UK in November.
However, we also want to bring the focus back to animals. We’re excited to be launching a large campaign tapping in to people’s values and questioning how an animal lover can eat animals. We’re working with a fantastic vegan agency, UP, on this campaign, and look forward to telling you more about it in the Spring.
All these new vegans that we’re helping to create need support and access to products. Our Vegan on the Go campaign will continue in 2020 and ask for more vegan options when we’re out and about. We’re looking to address sporting facilities and encourage more venues to follow in the footsteps of Forest Green Rovers.
As well as supporting vegans in their leisure time, we also need better food when reliant on the state – particularly in schools, hospitals and prisons. Our Catering for Everyone campaign will continue to ask for a mandatory plant-based option on every public sector menu, and we’re planning to work with individual health and education boards to offer support to improve their offerings. Likewise our Play Fair with Plant Milk campaign is asking for plant milks to be served in school and nursery schemes whenever dairy milk is available. We have had a loose commitment from the Government to explore this, so this will be a high priority for us to follow up this year.
Talking of politics, whatever your views on it, Brexit offers some opportunities for improved policies for vegans. Back in 2017 we campaigned for better medicine labelling and were told that this could be considered when we’re outside of the EU. The Government will be considering a new Agriculture Bill and Environment Bill, both of which hold opportunities to include support for a shift towards plant-based agriculture so we’ll be doing all we can to get our Grow Green campaign policies in front of politicians. We’ll still be active in Europe too though, and are taking our successful Grow Green Conference to Brussels later in the year. We’ll continue to collaborate with other organisations to stop EU legislation against the use of ‘meaty language’ to describe vegan foods and to support a legal definition of vegan for food labelling.
Our professional networks for vegans working in the Rights and Research fields are going from strength to strength. We’ll be holding conferences for both areas again this year, bringing together international legal professionals, and researchers across a variety of fields connected to veganism to share learning.
This is really just scratching the surface of the wealth of work the Campaigns, Policy and Research team will be doing in 2020 – our dietitian will be supporting more vegans with nutrition queries; our legal expert will support those who need their rights protected; we’ll be responding to numerous consultations on food and farming issues; our research officer will be collaborating with academics to produce more research into vegan issues; and our fundraising manager will be sourcing financial support for all these activities.
And of course, we are just one team within The Vegan Society, and our colleagues in the Communications, Business Development and the operations team will be working just as hard to help the organisation and movement achieve all we can.
Want to get involved?
Our campaigns activity is supported by our Community Network, made up of volunteers who help to roll out our work at a local level. You can sign up to be part of the Network here, or join our Facebook group to be first to hear about our new campaigns.
All of this work can’t be done without the support of our donors. If you’d like to support our work you can make a one-off donation or setup a regular donation via JustGiving today.
You can also donate by sending a cheque to our Head Office address or by contacting our fundraising team at fundraising[at]vegansociety[dot]com.
Louise Davies, Head of Campaigns, Policy & Research at The Vegan Society
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