Carbon emissions and type of diet: the facts

Have you ever wondered how the amount of carbon emissions we emit and the type of diet we follow are related? Read on, we’ll tell you some of the key facts.

The answer is yes, the amount of carbon emissions and the type of diet are connected. It is well known that diets with higher meat intake produce higher greenhouse gas emissions and a greater environmental impact. This is especially acute in cases where the meat is from ruminant animals, such as cows, sheep, or goats.

Diet type was of course one of the subjects of study to address in our project Cartografía Carbono. And we suspected, as it finally was, that the carbon emissions of vegetarians and vegans would be lower than those who eat meat.

But that is not the main outcome, but also that the emissions associated with the other lifestyle habits of vegans and vegetarians are on average also lower. The study results show that people with meatless diets are also more frugal in all other aspects of their lives. One possible reason: vegetarians and vegans tend to be more environmentally conscious. A second possible reason : they avoid unnecessary consumption more often than meat eaters.

Carbon footprint of vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters.

Specifically, we found that the total carbon emissions of people following a vegetarian diet are on average 22% lower than those who eat meat frequently. In the case of vegans, their greenhouse gas emissions are on average 37% lower than those who eat meat frequently.

As noted above, this is not only due to emissions associated with food, but also to a different type of lifestyle.

An extreme case as an example: on average, the participants in the study who declared themselves as vegans have associated greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to half of those who said they eat a lot of meat.

You can find all of this data in the final report of our project Cartografia Carbono 2020. If you want to know more you can read the full study here

If you are an enterprise and want to know more about your company and employees’ greenhouse gas emissions read here how we can help you.