Swapping 1 meat-based meal a week can save 19.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gas

Author: Holly Johnson

Read Time:   |  21st April 2023

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Ahead of Earth Day, new research reveals the potential impact of reducing meat consumption on greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.


If residents in the top ten most populated cities of the UK swapped just one meat meal for plant-based per week, it could cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 19.2 million tonnes annually, the equivalent of removing 6.1 million cars from the road or 1 billion showers.

The impact of meat on greenhouse gas emissions

The new study, conducted by environmental researcher Joseph Poore at Oxford University for meat alternatives brand Meatless Farm, analysed the environmental impact of red meat meals versus their plant-based equivalents in Britain, including energy use, packaging, transportation, and waste.

The UK’s livestock sector contributes 15% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions according to a report by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

With 49% of UK consumers already eating plant-based meat alternatives, small dietary changes could lead to up to an 8.4% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Urgent action is needed

Morten Toft Bech, founder of Meatless Farm, commented on the findings: “The science is clear: we need to take bold action to combat climate change. This new analysis from Joseph Poore reinforces that plant-based diets have a significant role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and it is a swift and arguably easy action to take.

“As they do with the meat industry, governments should also look to subsidise the sustainable protein industry to make it more accessible to everyone. As we mark Earth Day this year, it’s more important than ever that we take meaningful steps to protect our planet for future generations.”

This latest analysis comes in the wake of a ‘final warning’ from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the climate crisis, urging immediate action on greenhouse gas emissions.

Ready to start eating more plant-based dishes? Try some of our easy vegan meals.

Written by

Holly Johnson

Holly is editor of Vegan Food & Living magazine and host of the Simply Vegan podcast, where she chats to some of the leading names in the vegan movement.

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