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    Oatly calls to introduce carbon labelling on food, drink products

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    A campaign has been launched today (17) calling for all food and drink companies to publish the climate footprint of their products, citing a recent research which states that a good majority of shoppers are in favour of such a policy.

    The campaign comes as new research reveals UK consumers strongly support the idea of carbon labelling on food and drink. A good majority (62 per cent) are in favour of a policy to introduce carbon labelling on food/drink products, and 55 per cent think companies should be obliged to publish that information. 

    More than half consumers (59 per cent) would reduce or stop entirely consumption of high carbon-footprint food and drink products, if provided with accurate emissions data. 

    Young people (18-34) are particularly engaged. They are significantly more interested than other age groups in knowing the carbon footprint of their food and drink; more in agreement about the need for carbon labelling; and more likely to change their consumption habits, states the report.

    To highlight the campaign, Oatly has publicly challenged the dairy industry to reveal its own climate numbers, so shoppers can make a truly like-for-like comparison. Oatly has paid for high-profile advertising space and offered it to ‘Big Dairy’ for free, if they publish the full climate footprint of their products.  

    Bryan Carroll, UK general manager, Oatly, says: “The food and drink we consume is responsible for a third of total UK emissions. Scientists, including the UK Government’s own Climate Change Committee, are clear that those emissions must urgently come down and that consumer behaviour change is a necessary part of that. Our view is that it’s unreasonable to expect this to happen when consumers are not being given the information they need to make informed choices. Given the urgency of our climate challenge, we believe it should be as easy for shoppers to find the climate impact of what they’re buying, as it is to find its price tag.” 

    Oatly’ ‘Grey Paper’: Climate Labelling: Why Not? states that emissions from the food system, which currently equate to 35 per cent of total UK greenhouse gas emissions, must come down and changes to consumer choice are vital.

    Consumers are already given similar information elsewhere – for example, EPC certificates when buying a house, emissions data when buying a car, Energy Rating data when buying a TV or a fridge. The same must logically apply to food and drink, states Oatly, adding that there is broad public support for mandatory carbon labelling on food and drink as a means to make more informed choices. 

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