James O’Toole

James O’Toole

Communications Director, Plant Based Treaty

James is director of communications for Animal Save Movement and Plant Based Treaty. He creates the Animal Save Movement newsletter and develops global reports. He became vegan in 2010 and an activist in 2014 after bearing witness at a Toronto Cow Save vigil. Connecting with a cow arriving for slaughter was a transformational event and animal rights soon became his full-time focus. Previously James worked in the finance industry as a stockbroker and wrote market commentary.


The 3 Rs: Why we need a Plant Based Treaty

The Plant Based Treaty initiative is a grassroots campaign designed to put food systems at the forefront of combating the climate crisis. Modeled on the popular Fossil Fuel Treaty, the Plant Based Treaty aims to halt the widespread degradation of critical ecosystems caused by animal agriculture, to promote a shift to healthier, sustainable plant-based diets, and to reforest and rewild the Earth to restore carbon sinks to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

The treaty has “3Rs”: 1) Relinquish: Stop the problem increasing through no land use change, including deforestation, for animal agriculture; 2) Redirect: Shift policies to transition to a plant-based food system; and 3) Restore: Reforest the Earth and heal key ecosystems.

Scientists, individuals, groups, businesses and cities are being urged to endorse this call to action in order to pressure national governments to negotiate an international Plant Based Treaty. A second goal is to work with institutions, such as councils, universities, schools, hospitals, care homes, prisons, restaurants, corporations and trains, to implement actionable targets for the Plant Based Treaty that will impact the climate crisis. These include increasing

accessibility to plant-based foods, transforming menus to plant-based, introducing plant-based defaults, restoring and rewilding land, and expanding allotment schemes.

Plant Based Treaty (Saturday) full timetable


R2: The role of cities in the plant-based transition

Join us for an insightful panel discussion on the importance of making sustainable food a priority in council strategies, as highlighted by the Edinburgh City Council’s groundbreaking impact assessment report on the Plant Based Treaty.

Learn how cities and urban consumers contribute to escalating greenhouse emissions beyond their own borders, with nearly 80% of the world’s food consumed in urban areas and food systems accounting for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions.

Without focusing on consumption-based emissions, city councils will continue to widely underestimate the environmental and climate impacts of food consumption in their cities and overestimate the importance of local foods. Food consumption needs to be prioritized as highly as buildings, transportation and waste. 

Explore the underestimation of environmental and climate impacts of food consumption in cities and the need to prioritize plant-based food consumption alongside buildings, transportation, and waste management. Many cities and towns have jurisdiction over community education, food served in schools, hospitals, prisons and care facilities, as well as street festivals, and city-catered events, meetings and functions. 

Hear success stories from the 21 cities that have endorsed the Plant Based Treaty, including Hayward’s Heath, Edinburgh, Norwich and Los Angeles. Be inspired by Edinburgh’s comprehensive 18-page impact assessment and learn how your city can take meaningful steps towards a more sustainable and plant-based future.

Plant Based Treaty (Saturday) full timetable


R2: Should we introduce a meat tax?

Join us for a thought-provoking panel discussion on whether we need meat taxes to address the climate biodiversity loss and ocean crisis. Explore how the current food system, heavily reliant on animal-based products, exacerbates these global challenges and whether implementing meat taxes is a necessary step towards a greener future.

Hear from experts about the environmental impact of meat production and consumption, including its role in greenhouse gas emissions, habitat destruction, and resource depletion. Learn about the successful implementation of similar taxes in various countries and the potential outcomes.

Watch the discussion on the ethical, economic, and social implications of meat taxes and discover whether these policies can evoke a more sustainable, healthy, and just food system.

Plant Based Treaty (Saturday) full timetable


Role of media on reporting on animal agriculture

Join us for a compelling panel discussion on the role of media in reporting on animal agriculture and its impact on planetary boundaries, public health, and animal protection. Explore how the media can shape public perception, influence policies, and drive a plant-based food-system change.

Hear from journalists, experts, and campaigners as they discuss the challenges and opportunities in reporting on the multifaceted issues surrounding animal agriculture, such as the climate emergency, antibiotic resistance, pandemics, food security, and ethical considerations. Delve into the importance of accurate, balanced, and comprehensive journalism in raising awareness and fostering informed discussions about a transition to a plant-based food system.

Examine the role of different media channels, including print, digital, and social media, in amplifying the message and promoting alternative, sustainable food systems. Learn how to discern reliable information from misinformation, and engage in a dialogue on the responsibility of journalists, influencers, and consumers in shaping the future of animal agriculture.

Plant Based Treaty (Saturday) full timetable


How do we win a Plant Based Treaty: A Discussion on Community Campaigning and Individual Action

Join us for an inspiring panel discussion on how you can contribute to the campaign for a Plant Based Treaty and promote greener, healthier plant-based living in your community. Learn from passionate activists and organizers about the tools, training, and support network provided by the Plant Based Treaty to empower individuals and groups in implementing plant-based solutions at the local level.

In this session, we will explore the demands of the Plant Based Treaty and dive into the available materials and resources to support your campaigning efforts. Learn how to take action including, lobby elected officials and promote plant-based menus, and establish rewilding initiatives, orchards, and community kitchen gardens.

Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, learn valuable strategies for effective campaigning, and contribute to the momentum building for a global Plant Based Treaty.

Plant Based Treaty (Saturday) full timetable