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Doubling global bean consumption will help tackle climate, food and cost-of-living crises, says new campaign

Can beans really save the planet? New initiative ‘Beans is How’, is yelling “yes!” from the rooftops at COP27.

Fixing The Future With Beans

“Beans is How” has just launched at COP27 with the aim to promote the nutritional, environmental, and economic benefits of beans, peas, pulses, lentils and legumes.

A diverse coalition of research institutions, companies and non-profits founded Beans is How to demonstrate that increasing bean consumption worldwide can help build a healthier, fairer, more robust food system.

Doubling global consumption of beans by 2028 could sustainably and affordably reduce malnutrition, whilst helping those struggling during the cost-of-living crisis, according to the new campaign.

“Around the world, beans play an important cultural and nutritional role in many people’s lives. Now is the time to rally around these incredible ingredients which possess the power to address multiple challenges and propel us into a healthier future.”

SDG2 Avocacy hub.

The campaign has been organised by the SDG2 Advocacy Hub with a coalition of founding partners, including The Kraft Heinz Company, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Pan-African Bean Research Alliance (PABRA).

Evidence suggests a rising population and dietary shifts will mean global demand for protein will increase by almost 10% from 2020 to 2027. Beans provide a major source of plant-based protein that also offers environmental benefits for soils, yet on average, just 21g of pulses are eaten per person per day compared to 112g of meat, which has a significantly greater environmental footprint.

“Everyone is worried at the moment – how can we make nutritious meals for our families when money is tight? How can we help tackle the climate crisis? How can we do something about the 3 billion people on this planet who are malnourished? Beans is How we do it,” said Paul Newnham, Executive Director of the SDG2 Advocacy Hub.

“Beans have always been the food we eat when there is nothing else in the cupboard. Our amazing chefs can’t wait to show people how to reimagine beans. They are delicious and diverse with hundreds of incredible varieties.”

Beans is how campaign

Beans provide a unique solution to our climate, health and economic challenges. Beans release 90% fewer greenhouse gases than some animal proteins. Beans also contain key proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals for nutrition. At the same time, dried beans only cost on average US$1.00 (35 THB) per 500 grams.

“We’re going to need everybody’s help – we’re going to need chefs to put more beans on their menus and make beans sexy,” said Sam Kass, one of the campaign’s chief bean champions and former White House Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition.

In addition to their nutritional value, beans, peas, pulses, lentils and legumes are unique for their ability to fix nitrogen in soil, which improves soil health and reduces the need for nitrogen fertilizer, lowering the environmental footprint of food production.

Beans is how campaign

“Beans, legumes, pulses and peas come in thousands of varieties. Beans are an excellent crop for farmers to grow, and they are rich in proteins and iron,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA, former Special Envoy to the UN Food Systems Summit and a Bean Champion.

“Beans, legumes, pulses and peas come in thousands of varieties. Beans are an excellent crop for farmers to grow, and they are rich in proteins and iron,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA, former Special Envoy to the UN Food Systems Summit and a Bean Champion.

"This is a super crop in every sense”

Dr Kalibata.

The campaign officially launched on Saturday, November 12 at the UN Climate Change Global Innovation Hub Pavilion at COP27.

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