Dutch ministry omits advice to eat less meat from its sustainability campaign

In a government campaign to raise climate awareness among citizens, it has been found that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK) deliberately omitted a call to eat less meat — considering the advice to be too controversial and “politically sensitive.”

The “Everyone does what” campaign started in 2019 as an effort by the government to make citizens more aware of their own contribution to climate change.

The campaign provides tips on small personal changes that individuals can make to prevent global warming, such as properly insulating homes and not travelling by car as often — we know you can do it, Dutchies. 🚲

The campaign also promotes eating more sustainably — choosing seasonal foods more often and wasting less. 🥕 However, the advice to eat less meat was intentionally removed because it was considered too controversial, The Volkskrant reports.

A politically polarizing issue?

Documents requested by the animal welfare organisation, Wakker Dier, show that in April 2019, the subject of eating less meat was removed from the campaign.

“We don’t want to explicitly communicate ‘less meat’” the EZK wrote in internal communication because it is a “politically very sensitive subject”. For a country that prides itself on being super climate-conscious, this seems odd. 🤔

Proven to reduce emissions

Eating less meat is proven to reduce emissions of CO2 which cause climate change. According to the Dutch Government’s Nutrition Center, “by eating 100 grams less meat per week, you reduce your environmental impact by 7-10%.”

Government response

The ministry responded to this revelation by saying that “Everyone does what” was designed to “enthuse citizens to take small steps towards sustainability.” They added, “We noticed that eating ‘less meat’ was a measure that provoked controversy.”

Basically, the Dutch government thinks that advising people to eat less meat will make them reject a more sustainable lifestyle altogether.

What are your thoughts on the Ministry of Economic and Climate omitting the advice to eat less meat from its sustainability campaign?

Feature Image: Arturverkhovetsky/Depositphotos

Jen Lorimer 🇿🇼
An avid tea drinker, Jen was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She moved to Utrecht in 2017 to pursue her history degree. She loves people-watching, canoeing the Utrecht canals, and observing how the Dutch come alive in summer. Having been traumatised by a Dutch circle party, Jen wants to help equip other internationals with tips and tricks to survive and thrive in this wonderful flat country.


  1. I don’t think it’s “politically sensitive” as much as it is cultural. I would be furious if I were being lectured about what I should put in my body. In particular because my culture (also Zimbabwean) is an agrictural one and we are meat eaters and have been for ages! There are ways to reduce co2 emissions that don’t become draconian and infringe on peoples values and lives. Why are the EU and Dutch government not bullying unsustainable companies like Monstanto? Why should I be responsible when they are not?


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