ACE Theory of Change

Written By Brian Labatte

There is an enormous body of research that makes the point that Canada urgently needs to transition to a much more plant-based food system in order to improve Canadians’ health, ensure the security and sustainability of the food system, reduce the risks of zoonotic infectious diseases appearing in the human population, address the climate and ecological emergency, and reduce profound harm  to farmed and wild-living animals.

Advocacy is most effective when it meaningfully engages primary stakeholders in a democratic, participatory process of planning and political organization that empowers stakeholders and builds trust (Anderson 2019; Weller 2019; Atteridge and Strambo 2021; Bergquist et al. 2021). 

For widespread public interests in a just transition to a more plant-based food system to win out over the concentrated interests of incumbents, it is thus crucial for there to be organized advocacy among politically powerful primary stakeholders with concentrated interests in the transition. Cities can be a powerful voice. Research in the US has demonstrated that city climate plans can have a significant impact on CO2 climate emissions (Leffel 2023).

The Plant-Based Cities Movement avows on two (2) sets of approaches in changing the current food system. One is the choice architecture of individual selection, commonly referred to as an I-frame change.  The other is to change the system, S-frame (Chater, Lowenstein  2022)S- and I-frame approaches can still often be mutually reinforcing. But often the most powerful way to help people make better decision is not merely to modify their ‘choice architecture,’ but with S-frames, changing or modifying the “rules of the game.”

For example, I-frame measures, such as health warnings on cigarette packets or anti-smoking public information campaigns, may increase public support for S-frame measures including advertising bans, and outlawing smoking in public places (Sunstein 2022a). Similarly, standardized procedures, such as checklists in aviation and medicine (e.g., Gawunde, 2009), may enhance s-frame processes for scrutinizing performance (e.g., adherence to procedures is more easily monitored with S-frames).

The Plant-Based Cities Movement works closely with Forward Food Canada and GreenerbyDefault to simplify and tailor the transition to meet the needs and requirements of the Municipalities, Institutions, and Federal/Provincial Governments key stakeholders.

Globally more than 92.2 billion, and in Canada alone more than 800 million land animals are slaughtered each year for food. Policy can and should increase the speed and scale of plant-based transition, but there is evidence that such a transition is already underway, which presents both emerging opportunities and potential challenges to Canada. 

The Plant-Based Cities Movement is estimating that its efforts to transition cities to plant-based meals has the potential to save 0.5 to 3.5 million animals over the next five (5) years. The Plant-Based Cities Movement has developed a statistical model to forecast the impact of our efforts. For specific details please contact us at


About Brain Labatte

As a senior Montreal based leader in the energy sector, Brian has spearheaded business development, engineering teams, legal trade cases, and product innovation. He is a founding member of the Good Judgement Project, a prominent group in forecasting political and economic trends. Brian enjoys outdoor sports and hiking with his dogs in Vermont.