NETHERLANDS – Global consumer packaged foods company Upfield has published data revealing that consumers and chefs – using their plant-based butters, margarines and spreads instead of dairy butter – have avoided emitting an estimated six million metric tons of CO2-equivalent within 12 months. 

“The Upside” – which can also be referred to as “emissions savings” – is largely due to ingredient production and was measured based on data and product sales over the calendar year of 2020. 

It puts into consideration the environmental cost of using plant-based ingredients instead of butter. According to Upfield, the average plant-based margarine and spread product is responsible for 70% lower emissions than dairy butter. 

The Netherlands-based company notes that the amount saved is double the company’s operational and supply chain emissions and equivalent to emissions that would be avoided by growing 100 million tree seedlings over the period of ten years. 

Sally Smith, head of sustainability at Upfield, noted that the data gathered helps demonstrate that choosing just one company’s plant-based products can help consumers save emissions by the same magnitude as planting a large forest. 

“We encourage policymakers and stakeholders to consider the insight from this approach and its implications for sustainable diets worldwide,” she stresses. 

“At Upfield, we are committed to putting climate footprint information on pack as a way to help consumers make active choices to help reduce the carbon impact of their diets and we’d love to see other food businesses doing the same.” 

By aiming to quantify “The Upside”, Upfield says it has become the first food company to pilot a methodology that estimates the carbon emissions avoided by its portfolio. 

The owner of Blue Band and Flora brands, adds that the “The Upside” approach is a first step in setting the standard for a consistent framework and methodology that would allow companies to quantify the benefits of their lower-impact products. 

“But while delivering “The Upside” is important this doesn’t negate us reducing our own footprint. We have set ourselves an ambitious goal to reduce Upfield’s own emissions to net zero and continue to take steps towards meeting this goal,” Smith added.  

In journey towards carbon neutrality, Upfield only sources its palm oil from farms that are 100% physically certified in accordance with their commitment to sourcing sustainable palm oil in accordance with RSPO standards.

In Wageningen, the Upfield Food Science Center, the company’s premier research and development center built in compliance with the highest standards for sustainability, is on its way to completion in the first quarter of 2022.

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