Source: Oatly

The campaign comes as new research has revealed 62% of the public are in favour of the introduction of carbon labelling on food and drink products

Oatly has launched a campaign in the UK calling for all food and drink companies to publish the carbon footprint of their products.

The campaign comes as a recent poll of 2,000 people by the brand revealed 62% of the public were in favour of the introduction of carbon labelling on food and drink products, and 55% thought companies should be obliged to publish that information.

Most consumers (59%) claimed they would also reduce or entirely stop consuming high carbon footprint food and drink products if provided with accurate emissions data.

As part of the campaign, the oat milk brand has launched a new report, Climate Labelling: Why Not?, which is aimed at making the case for mandatory climate labelling.

It focuses on three core arguments: the science is unequivocal on the emissions from the food system; customers are already given similar information about emissions elsewhere such as EPC certificates when buying a house; and there is broad public support for mandatory carbon labelling.

“The food and drink we consume is responsible for a third of total UK emissions,” said Bryan Carroll, UK general manager at Oatly.

“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,” he added.

To highlight this campaign, Oatly has publicly challenged the dairy industry to reveal its own climate numbers so shoppers can make a like-for-like comparison.

Oatly has paid for advertising space and offered it to dairy companies for free, if they publish the full climate footprint of their products.

This comes as the government has created its Food Data Transparency Partnership which is exploring possible climate labelling policies for food and drink. Oatly has cautioned against inadequate outcomes and has looked to share its own experiences of climate labelling with policymakers and the industry.

“We’re inviting those across the full spectrum of the food industry to come together and work out what an effective climate labelling system should look like,” said Carroll. “One that doesn’t cost the earth but helps preserve the Earth.”

Oatly has published the climate impact data of its products on-pack in the UK since 2019.