Studies & Numbers

Upfield Says Its Customers Have Saved Six Million Tonnes of CO2 in a Year by Choosing Plant-Based Spreads

Margarine and spread company Upfield has calculated the greenhouse gas emissions its customers have prevented over the past year by choosing its plant-based products. The total is estimated at up to six million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

This is the equivalent of planting 100 million trees, though the calculations assume that customers chose the plant-based spreads instead of butter or margarines containing dairy.

Upfield claims it is the first company in the industry to estimate these emissions savings figures, which it calls “The Upside”. By publishing them, it hopes to draw policymakers’ attention to the environmental benefits of plant-based diets.

The company says the emissions it has saved by encouraging consumers to choose plant-based products are more than double those it has produced, putting it on track to achieve its “better than net-zero” emissions goal by 2050.


Upfield is now the world’s largest plant-based company, having acquired plant-based cheese company Arivia (producer of Violife) in 2019. Last year, the company introduced carbon labelling on its packaging to create transparency about the environmental impact of its products.

However, Upfield sparked backlash last October when it added buttermilk back into its Flora Buttery spread just 18 months after announcing that the entire Flora range would now be vegan. Many customers were furious, calling it a “backward decision”. Despite this, the company has continued to promote plant-based diets, last year launching a global advocacy platform encouraging people to eat plant-based one day a week.

“The scientific consensus is that we need a plant-based shift to tackle the crisis in climate and nature,” said Sally Smith, Head of Sustainability at Upfield. “We encourage policymakers and stakeholders to consider the insight from this approach and its implications for sustainable diets worldwide.”

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