Named by Fast Company as one of the top 50 innovative companies in China in 2014 Green Monday is a social impact initiative dedicated to tackling the planet’s largest issues including climate change, global food insecurity, health issues and animal welfare.
How can one start-up venture address so many fundamental issues? Green Monday has connected efforts toward multiple planetary issues by creating an innovative and diverse social venture platform that makes low-carbon and sustainable, healthy living simple, viral and actionable. Green Monday has unlocked a highly impactful approach of empowered individual choice to move the needle on a global scale.
Raising livestock for human consumption creates more damage to our environment than all the transportation vehicles combined
Hong Kong based entrepreneur David Yeung, the co-founder and CEO of Green Monday and named by Conscious Company magazine as one of the “Top 17 Rising Social Entrepreneurs” explains, “we as a species, are facing a crisis of epic proportions. And there is one common, obvious culprit for our biggest problems that no one talks about and that’s the food industry – in particular, the industrial meat industry.”
Green Monday’s approach is simple and holistic: to promote plant-based eating throughout the entire food ecosystem. This means influencing food service providers, managing the product supply chain, partnering with Food 2.0 technologists, and creating a “green lifestyle” experience to offer plant-based options to the masses, while coupling those offerings with quantifiable analysis of savings impact. The savings are measured in the form of animal lives, CO2 emissions, and natural resources like trees and water.
The Fundamental Issues:
Climate Change/Global Warning: Raising livestock for human consumption creates more damage to our environment than all the transportation vehicles combined, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Resources/Food Scarcity: Our global population continues to out-pace the earth’s ability to provide for its inhabitants. According to a study by National Geographic, we are currently consuming 1.5 times the available resources and if we don’t drastically change our consumption behavior, by the year 2050, we will be consuming two times the earth’s resources – clearly a trajectory that cannot be sustained.
Shifting Consciousness: As more people become aware of the alarming sustainability issues facing our planet and their own unhealthy meat eating diets causing increases in disease (as warned by the World Health Organization), the shift towards a more mindful life in harmony with the earth, including all its sentient beings and natural resources, means a shift in mindful consumption as an imperative that cannot be ignored.
By simply adopting a “green” diet one day per week, thousands of savings can be realized in animal lives, land and water usage, and CO2 emissions. As Yeung explains, “from a sustainability standpoint, livestock is the biggest contributor to our carbon footprint. Animals, especially cows and lambs, consume a disproportionate amount of water and require land to grow. Consuming less meat reduces carbon emissions and if the land can be used to feed people directly, eating plant-based is at least 10 times more efficient.”
According to published statistics by Counting Animals, one vegetarian is estimated to save between 371 and 582 animals each year
In four short years, Green Monday has emerged as a key player in accelerating a behavior change of unprecedented impact – helping shift a highly carnivorous population, that of Hong Kong -- the highest per capita consumption of meat on the planet, from 5 per cent to 23 per cent vegetarians and “flexitarians” from 2008 to 2014(1).
According to published statistics by Counting Animals, one vegetarian is estimated to save between 371 and 582 animals each year. By extension, one flexitarian who practices a plant-based diet one day per week – going “Green Monday,” can save an average of 68 lives per year. This means that now in Hong Kong an estimated 300 million animal lives are saved each year by a simple diet change! “People have easily grasped that reducing their meat consumption one day a week, however much of a baby step that is, makes a difference.
Green Monday as a Starting Point:
Green Monday is not about converting people to vegetarianism, nor does it require a drastic lifestyle change. Understanding that deep-rooted dietary habits cannot be changed overnight, adopting a plant-based diet on Monday serves as an easy starting point for awareness and action by individuals to adopt a plant-based diet any day of the week, increase the portions of plant-based foods or eliminate high environmental impact food such as livestock altogether. Through Green Monday’s comprehensive and collective approach, animal welfare and environmental sustainability is not only possible, it is achievable.
As Yeung points out, “Green Monday is the Swiss army knife of the green movement. What distinguishes Green Monday from other similar movements is its pioneering dual-engine to catalyze sustained social change, focusing on building the momentum of the movement and initiating the trend of eating green.” With the rapid growth of Green Monday, there is no denying that the movement is simple, viral and actionable – the three qualities emphasized by Green Monday’s founder since day one. In only four years, Green Monday has evolved to become one of the pioneering movements that strive to make the world a better place for both humans and animals to live. Yeung concludes that, “sustainability is of universal interest.
By introducing a revolutionized food mindset to Hong Kong and the rest of the world, Green Monday provides a simple gateway to eat in a way that is good for ourselves, good for animals, and good for our planet.”
(1) 2014: phone surveys conducted by Ipsos Hong Kong
2008: The Hong Kong Vegetarian Society
- This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details.