Environmental Wins

Switching to a plant-based option could cut that dish’s:

Increasing plant-based options is the single most impactful way to reduce food-related carbon footprints. Alongside reduced carbon emissions, there are numerous environmental benefits of plant-based options, including: 

  • Up to 75% less land would be required to feed the UK population if all options were plant-based
  • This would free up crucial land for carbon storage, essential for climate crisis mitigation, and reduce the pressures on the world’s wildlife and biodiversity, essential for humanity’s survival 
  • Help prevent the sixth mass extinction. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of wildlife loss 
  • Vastly lower air pollution, of which animal agriculture is the single biggest cause in Europe 
  • Alleviate water pressure. Animal-based foods have a much larger water footprint than plant-based foods, with the beef cattle sector topping the scale at one-third of the water use in animal agriculture

The Issues and Solutions

Demand for meat, dairy, fish and eggs is a leading cause of the climate crisis, responsible for one-fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions produced.

Animal agriculture is the biggest driver of deforestation as forests are cleared to make way for growing animal feed and grazing.

One million species are now at risk of extinction with animal agriculture being the number one driver of wildlife loss worldwide.

The production of animal-based foods requires far more water than plant-based foods. In the UK, plant-based options can be 50% less water intensive compared to meat and dairy.

We are fast running out of space to grow enough food; 83% of agricultural land is used to farm livestock yet only produces 18% of the world’s calories. Plant-based options can greatly reduced this demand.

If you want to cook sustainably, then you need to consider more than food miles, which just looks at transportation. Carbon footprint looks at the whole production cycle giving a better environmental assessment.

Top 10 UK meals estimates of CO₂ produced per meal as a meat meal versus the plant-based version.

CO₂ totals were calculated by My Emissions