Oatly unveils global roll-out of climate footprints on all packaging

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With the right information, Oatly believes people can make better food and drink choices to help reduce their climate impact. In fact, a requirement to show a food product’s climate footprint isn’t so different from the rules governing the labelling of fat, sugar or nutritional content. But getting everyone involved to agree on how that could be done will take time — which is why Oatly has decided to take the lead and do it first, on a global level.

Starting now, Oatly is labelling all products with a number that defines the climate impact of the product, from oat field to store. The impact is expressed in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e).

The calculations show that if by you swap 1 litre of British Whole cow’s milk for 1 litre of Barista Edition Oat Drink, you will save 1.16kg of CO2e. That is as much greenhouse gas equivalent (CO2e) as produced by driving 10KM in an average petrol car (for example, a Ford Fiesta, the UK’s most popular car).

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The calculations are performed by a company called CarbonCloud and cover the product journey all the way from field to store, including transportation. All values are expressed in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), the same measure used by the UNFCCC and The European Commission, which converts the varying effects of different gases into the equivalent amount of CO2 it would take to create the same greenhouse effect.

Carina Tollmar, sustainability director at Oatly, said: “Scientists and most reasonable people on Earth agree: to avoid catastrophe we must keep the global temperature rise below 1.5C. But even though the food system accounts for 20-25% of the world’s total climate footprint, it’s currently really hard for consumers to understand the climate impact of the food and drink they choose to purchase. It’s now time to take urgent action. That is why we are giving consumers detailed information about the climate impact of our products, allowing Oatly fans to make more informed choices when it comes to their food and drink purchases.”

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The CO2e figures can be found on the back of Oatly packaging and in some cases, in a small bubble on the front of the oat drinks. It’s going to take some months to have all figures calculated on all products, so if you’re the first-mover type, we suggest visiting the product pages where figures will be posted as soon as they’re in.