Find the answers to frequently asked questions about the Suffolk County Council (SCC) Vegan Staff Network.

What’s the purpose of the network?

The SCC Vegan Staff Network is here to promote veganism in a positive and inclusive way, and empower people to make informed choices about their lifestyle.

Our vision is to bring about a working environment where veganism is recognised, and has a positive impact on the well-being of staff, the welfare of animals and the environment.

You can find out more about our vision, mission and values in our Terms of Reference.

Who’s the network for?

This is an inclusive network.

We’re open to all SCC staff, councillors and partners. We’re here for you whether you’re already vegan, thinking of going vegan, or just curious. (Don’t worry: there’s no obligation to become vegan!)

Our network is really welcoming, and already has members who don’t identify as vegans. It’s for anyone who would like to be a part of encouraging positive social change and improving the lives of all living beings.

What does the network actually do?

Lots of things! Including:

  • talking to SCC staff about veganism
  • meeting up as a network to support each other
  • organising events, like beach cleans
  • speaking to the media about our network
  • advising other councils on setting up their own vegan staff networks
  • publishing and promoting articles, blogs and other content on vegannetwork.co.uk

We also welcome great ideas about what we should do. So join us and let us know your suggestions!

Where does the network meet up?

We try to get together as often as possible, either online or in person.

Our Microsoft Teams site is the online space where we discuss future meet-ups, ideas and anything else network-related.

We know that having a close and supportive network around you is important if you’re vegan – especially if you’re just starting out. So whether you’re new to all this or you’re a vegan veteran, we welcome and encourage you to join us!

What do I have to do as a member?

Whatever you feel comfortable with.

There’s no obligation to commit a set amount of time on the network each month. In fact we hope most members don’t see the network as a commitment at all, but something fun, positive and beneficial to them.

If you do dip your toe in the water and decide you’d like to dive deeper, then there’s probably a lot you can contribute! You could:

  • write posts for our website
  • organise network events and meet-ups
  • manage our mailing list and contribute to our newsletter
  • design posters, leaflets and other network branded material
  • research the latest science on veganism, health and the environment
  • support other network members as they explore veganism

Why does the network have a public website?

Our website is our platform.

It’s our voice, both within SCC and beyond. Whenever we’re promoting veganism or the network specifically, we like to link people back to information on our site.

We want to source content from our members, and get ideas from people outside the network too. If you’d like to contribute to our site, please do get in touch to let us know.

How can I join the network?

Easy, just drop us a message by emailing vegannetwork@suffolk.gov.uk or using our contact form.

When you get in touch, simply tell us a bit about yourself and your interest in veganism and we’ll go from there.

There’s no elaborate vegan network initiation ceremony, unfortunately. Or membership cards. Yet.

What’s the network’s position on catering at work?

The Vegan Network’s official position is that SCC should adopt a plant-based food and drink policy across all of its buildings – from staff restaurants and coffee platforms to event catering and vending machines.

Throughout the whole Covid-19 pandemic we’ve all agreed we should follow the science. In the case of the environment, the science is clear that avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way for people to reduce their environmental impact.

If we truly believe that being guided by science is the right approach for one crisis (coronavirus pandemic), we should be consistent and have the same mindset for another (climate crisis).

If we became the first local authority to go 100% plant-based, it would mark us out as a genuine leader in the response to the climate emergency. Positive national media recognition would surely follow.

We completely understand this would be quite a shift in policy, and challenging to implement. Some people might initially be resistant to such a change. For that reason we would support a phased approach, and would be happy to be involved in whatever capacity would be helpful.

What’s being vegan all about, anyway?

Good question! Helpfully, there’s actually a definition from the Vegan Society:

“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

– The Vegan Society

In a nutshell, all this means is vegans try to avoid exploiting and harming animals if we don’t need to. That’s it.

What a lot of people might find surprising is that veganism is a philosophy, not a diet. It’s really just about trying to live in a way that treats animals ethically.

Find out more by reading about the case for veganism.

And if you’re curious as to what ‘going vegan’ means in practice locally, get in touch with us. We won’t bite. Unless you’re a vegan burger (nom nom nom).