Tuesday, 10 March 2020
Claims by Quorn and the BBC on the environmental impact of red meat in the UK have been successfully challenged by AHDB.
Quorn had claimed ‘carbon emissions from livestock are greater than those of all global transport’, and the BBC had claimed that ‘cutting meat is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact’. As a result, this information has now been amended on its websites to reflect current scientific research.
AHDB’s CEO Jane King wrote to the BBC in January to raise concerns about its online article “Climate change: Where we are in seven charts and what you can do to help.”
In the article, a 2018 Oxford study was used to support the claim the single biggest way consumers could reduce their environmental impact was to cut meat from their diets. However, a 2017 study from Lund University in Sweden disproves this and identifies three more effective ways to positively impact the environment.
In its response on 27 February, the BBC supported AHDB’s concerns and has now amended the line to ‘One of the biggest’.
That same month, AHDB’s Head of Environment Dr Jonathon Foot wrote to Quorn to raise concerns over four environmental claims made on its UK website.
As a result, Quorn removed its comparison between livestock emissions and transport– a comparison that was rejected by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 2018 - and also amended wording around deforestation and biodiversity loss.
Jon Foot, AHDB’s Head of Environment, said it was important statements made around the environmental impact of agricultural products such as red meat were properly backed up by companies and organisations: “In many cases, environmental claims are often made without full or in-depth knowledge of the subject, which is incredibly complex.
“As part of AHDB’s ongoing industry reputation work we will continue to challenge these claims when they arise,” he said.