Oatly debates need to declare CO2e information on food products in Germany

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Oatly’s call to action, for food companies in Germany to clearly declare a product’s climate footprint, leads them to the Petition Committee of the German Federal Parliament. On 14 September, Oatly will visit the Bundestag to debate the positive implication of making climate footprint (CO2e) declarations on food a law in Germany. As the oat drink company continues to call on the global food industry to show their numbers, it has set up the Climate Alliance, a group of food companies who are uniting to rally the parliament to make this change. Oatly has garnered support from a range of independent food brands such as Veganz, Rügenwalder Mühle and fritz-kola. In recent days, Oatly’s work has even inspired Nestlé Germany, Upfield and Develey to join the Alliance.

The food industry accounts for about 25% of global emissions. Consequently, our food choices have a crucial impact on the climate. In 2019, Oatly voluntarily added a climate footprint declaration on all European products, but this was not enough to drive the huge systemic change needed. Last fall Oatly submitted a public petition to the German Federal Parliament to make climate declaration a law. Within just 28 days, Oatly gathered over the 50,000 signatures needed in order for the discussion to be tabled. On the 14 September, Oatly is invited to the Petition Committee of the German Federal Parliament to present their case in a petition hearing. 

“How can people make choices that benefit the planet, if they don’t have accessible information? We think that a climate footprint declaration on food packaging is needed to help consumers to make an informed decision,and choose foods with a lower climate impact. Germany now has the chance to take the lead and set an important example for more sustainable change worldwide. The planet can’t wait,” says Tobias Goj, general manager of Oatly DACH. 

German people raise importance of transparency

The demand for a more sustainable food system is global and growing fast, with much of the shift being led by Millennials and Generation Z. But the need for change shows across all ages. In a recent survey*, nine out of ten Germans said that they know too little about the climate impact of food products, and 60% believe in the potential of climate footprint declarations on food to promote climate-friendly behaviour. 

Creating climate alliance

Previous Oatly campaigns such as “Hey food industry, show us your numbers”, where Oatly called upon the food industry to be transparent about their climate impact, have influenced other companies to recognize the importance of climate declarations. Oatly’s call to action and campaign in Germany has inspired action from companies such as fritz-kola, Veganz, Frosta, Freche Freunde,, Rügenwalder Mühle and MyMuesli. Earlier this summer, Upfield committed to labelling 100 million packs with climate impact by the end of 2021. In recent days, several more companies have committed to joining the Climate Alliance including among others Develey, Upfield and Nestlé Germany, an important move in turning Oatly’s campaign to put CO2e declarations on food products into a global initiative. 

“To see the likes of Nestlé Germany, Upfield and Develey join our Climate Alliance, along with a host of other influential food brands, demonstrates that real change can happen when the food industry unites. We are in the midst of a global climate crisis and we don’t have time to waste. If we are to make the drastic changes needed for the future of our planet, we need food companies big and small working together towards the same goal. That goal is simple, making climate declarations clear and consistent so consumers can make the most informed decision about their food choices. We hope the Bundestag listens to the needs and wants of both the German public and the food industry and takes action,” says Goj.