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Oatly offers up free advertising space for British dairy companies

In a bid to improve transparency about the environmental impact of our food and drink industry, the plant-based milk company Oatly has asked dairy companies in the UK to reveal their carbon footprint on prepaid advertising space.

Searching for ways to reduce the severity of our impact on the environment has become a defining feature of our generation’s time.

We know that even the smallest changes to our daily habits can add up to hugely positive results, which is why many people around the world have started to alter their diets as a way to reduce their carbon footprint.

This explains the rise in popularity of plant-based diets and products, in particular, the success of Oatly, a Swedish food company that specialises in plant-based milk.

Though the company has had its fair share of controversies, the company has become one of the leading milk alternatives on the global market. Now, it is extending its brand power to provide free advertising space for dairy companies.

This may sound contradictory to their own purpose, but there’s a method to the madness here.

Alongside streetside and Underground ads that outline the carbon footprint of Oatly’s products is another large advertisement that calls upon British dairy farmers to reveal the carbon footprint of their own operations.

The goal is to increase transparency about the carbon emissions caused by the food industry while pushing a wider agenda to get all food items sold in the UK labelled with their carbon footprint.

Environmental footprints of dairy and plant-based milks

Oatly UK’s general manager Bryan Carroll said, ‘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.’

In order to find out what its customers thought of this proposition, the company surveyed 2,000 British adults. A massive 62 percent of respondents expressed support for a policy that would enforce carbon labelling on food and beverage items.

More than half (55 percent) of respondents said that companies should be obligated to disclose this information, while nearly 60 percent indicated that they would reduce or completely stop consuming products with high carbon footprints if they were provided with accurate emissions data.

Oatly on daring 'big dairy' to show off its climate hoofprint | Campaign US

It shouldn’t be very surprising to hear that those displaying the highest level of engagement with carbon emission labels were individuals between 18 and 34 years old.

This group had the strongest interest in knowing the environmental impact footprint of food and drinks, the highest belief in the necessity of carbon labelling, and stated that they would adjust their consumption patterns according to this information at a rate higher than any other group.

Considering that nutrition labels have helped people make better choices about their health, it’s likely that labelling foods with their carbon emissions could make us think twice about the food we buy – or at least cause us to reduce our consumption of certain products.

We’ll have to see how the campaign plays out, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see carbon footprint labels appearing on produce around the world very soon.