London, LA, Barcelona, top list of most vegan-friendly cities in the world

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

@ogradyharry via Twenty20.

Plant-based food review platform Abillion has released its first-ever list on the world’s most vegan-friendly and “future-ready” cities. The Cities of the Future report is based on the platform’s 850,000 reviews contributed by 32,000 members from 150 countries and 6000 cities.

“Around 6000 cities were considered, but only 54 cities made the initial cut,” states Vikas Garg, CEO & Founder, Abillion.

“In light of the COP 26 climate summit where nature took centre stage, our report highlights how leading cities around the world have been making strides to being kinder on the planet and its residents – human and animal alike.” 

The cities are placed within a scoring system with 1.0 as the highest and 4.0 as the lowest, in each category based on policy commitments towards the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (UNSDG), greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and waste generation. The final score is then averaged out from four categories:

  • Plant-based living (50 per cent)
  • Policy commitment (30 per cent)
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (10 per cent)
  • Waste generated (10 per cent)

Abillion’s most vegan-friendly and future-ready cities in the world

London, LA, Barcelona, top list of most vegan-friendly cities in the world
London / Source: Twenty20

Here are the rankings of the Top 10 most vegan-friendly cities in the world, courtesy of Abillion…

#1 London, UK

Plant-based living: 1.5

Policy rank: 1.0

GHG emissions: 3.0

Final score: 1.7

The city currently has 14,000 product reviews, 5400 restaurant reviews, and 900 restaurants with vegan-friendly options listed on the platform. 

In other measures, there are more than 3000 green parks in London, making up nearly 18 per cent of the city, which is more than the area covered by roads and railways combined.

However, unfortunately, the city ranks poorly on GHG emissions and waste management. The UK was estimated to produce 370 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2019, with the capital accounting for the significant share of emissions; that’s why the platform gave it a score of 3.0.

But the city makes up for that in terms of policy commitment, scoring 1.0 for support for the environmental targets of UNSDG. According to the report, the city hall has already funded the planting of 250,000 new trees and 250 green space improvements over the past three years. 

London, LA, Barcelona, top list of most vegan-friendly cities in the world
Los Angeles / Source: Twenty20

#2 Los Angeles, US

Plant-based living: 2.0

Policy rank: 1.0

GHG emissions: 3.0

Final score: 1.9

LA scores high on policy commitment, ranking with a score of 1.0, crediting Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has put climate change high on the city’s agenda since 2013, indicates the report.

The initiative includes launching the city’s sustainability plan in 2015 – a roadmap towards a cleaner environment and commitment to enact UNSDG locally. 

In plant-based living, the city scores 2.0 for having an estimated 6000 reviews of dishes and products and having plant-based options in fine dining restaurants. Compared to other cities, fine dining had the highest representation, making up 7.6 per cent of the vegan dishes reviewed by users. 

London, LA, Barcelona, top list of most vegan-friendly cities in the world
Barcelona / Source: Twenty20

#3 Barcelona, Spain

Plant-based living: 2.3

Policy rank: 2.0

GHG emissions: 1.0

Final score: 2.0

Compared to the two previous entries, Spain’s largest city achieved the highest score of 1.0 for GHG emissions and 2.0 for waste management.

Based on the report, the city aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, backed up with sound strategies and funding. Last year, the city launched a 563 million plan to cut down GHG emissions by 50 per cent within ten years, together with 103 different initiatives from expanding green spaces to creating low-emission zones.

While on the plant-based category, the Barcelona community has contributed over 8000 product reviews on the platform. 

London, LA, Barcelona, top list of most vegan-friendly cities in the world
Melbourne / Source: Twenty20

#4 Melbourne, Australia

Plant-based living: 2.0

Policy rank: 2.0

GHG emissions: 4.0

Final score: 2.1

Not far behind is Melbourne, with a score of 2.4, credited to platform users who have reviewed 700 restaurants with vegan options. 

According to a report, Australia is the third fastest-growing vegan market globally at 9.6 per cent, and Aussies were the third most likely to purchase ready-to-eat vegan-friendly meals. But, of course, it also helps that these products are easily accessible thanks to supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths, who produce these offerings. 

In terms of commitment to the environment, the city’s government created Plan Melbourne – a detailed blueprint to 2050 with targets towards environmental resilience and sustainability while planning population growth. The plan aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero, increase public transport, and grow a “cleaner” economy.

London, LA, Barcelona, top list of most vegan-friendly cities in the world
Singapore / Source: Twenty20

#5 Singapore

Plant-based living: 2.5

Policy rank: 1.0

GHG emissions: 2.0

Final score: 2.2

The city scored highly for its range and variety of vegan-friendly dishes, and it has embraced greenery as part of its landscape despite a lack of natural resources.

Sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings has become a major backer for alternative protein companies like Next-gen foods and Impossible Foods. In addition, plant-based dairy alternative Oatly is setting up a $23 million plant while Eat Just has an ongoing construction of a $120 million alt-egg facility

Alas, according to the platform’s users, while vegan food products are available in local eateries and supermarkets, they have yet to infiltrate restaurant menus as much. For this reason, the report rated the city a 4.0 but might increase its ratings as more restaurants add more plant-based dishes in their offerings.

London, LA, Barcelona, top list of most vegan-friendly cities in the world
Johannesburg / Source: Twenty20

#6 Johannesburg, South Africa

Plant-based living: 2.5

Policy rank: 2.0

GHG emissions: 3.0

Final score: 2.3

In Johannesburg, users have reviewed 490 restaurants in the city with vegan-friendly dishes, giving them a score of 2.5 for plant-based living. While ts policy commitment raked in a score of 2.0 because of its clear and transparent targets, and 3.0 for GHG emissions. In terms of waste generation, the city, with a population of over 5.6 million, produced just 1.7 million tonnes of waste in 2017, leading to a score of 1.0.

London, LA, Barcelona, top list of most vegan-friendly cities in the world
Toronto / Source: Twenty20

#7 Toronto, Canada

Plant-based living: 2.3

Policy rank: 2.0

GHG emissions: 4.0

Final score: 2.3

According to the report, the city raked in a score of 2.3 thanks to the highest number of reviewed restaurants offering farm-to-table experiences. People get to avail plant-based dishes with the freshest produce that doesn’t generate as much carbon footprint due to a shorter supply chain.

In terms of policy commitments, according to a 2019 report, the city spent around $200 million towards environmental efforts such as the Green Bond Project – an initiative to mitigate the effects of climate change. 

London, LA, Barcelona, top list of most vegan-friendly cities in the world
New York City / Source: Twenty20

#8 New York City, US

Plant-based living: 2.5

Policy rank: 1.0

GHG emissions: 4.0

Final score: 2.4

American cultural powerhouse, NYC lands at #8 with a score of 2.4, as the vegan-friendly city scene is growing with nearly 800 restaurants serving a plethora of plant-based dishes, from vegan sushi joints to plant-based burgers. 

The city also scored well on policy commitment with 1.0 for providing progress reports on environmental UNSDG since 2018. It is, for instance, on track to completely ban foam, plastic, and paper bags. 

London, LA, Barcelona, top list of most vegan-friendly cities in the world
Berlin / Source: Twenty20

#9 Berlin, Germany

Plant-based living: 2.3

Policy rank: 3.0

GHG emissions: 2.0

Final score: 2.4

Abillion gave a plant-based living score of 2.3 for Berlin, based on a 2016 study (the source was not disclosed) that reports that 80,000 residents identified as vegan. In addition, over 350 restaurants with vegan options are listed on the platform.

London, LA, Barcelona, top list of most vegan-friendly cities in the world
Cape Town / Source: Twenty20

#10 Cape Town, South Africa

Plant-based living: 2.0

Policy rank: 4.0 

GHG emissions: 2.0

Final score: 2.5

The app gave the city a plant-based living score of 1.0 based on 1300 restaurant reviews offering vegan dishes. In contrast, it received a 4.0 on policy rank because, according to the report, there is “little to no quantifiable” progress despite the area’s vulnerabilities for having a 2500sqm area, home to some of the most important biodiversity in the country. 

What about other cities?

We want to remind everyone that the list mentioned above was strictly based on the number of users in the cities that have downloaded and are using the Abillion app. 

There are 195 countries globally, with 10,000 cities; Plant-based support and sustainability efforts by areas not included in the list are still appreciated, especially the impact they’ll impart on the people and the environment.

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

A digital content manager based in the Philippines, Kaycee Enerva has written for multiple publications over several years. A graduate of Computer Science, she exchanged a career in IT to pursue her passion for writing. She's slowly practicing sustainability through period cups, and eating more plant-based food.

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