Oatly’s controversial ‘Help-dad’ ad campaign annoys UK farmers

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It has been a busy week for Swedish alt milk maker Oatly which has launched an ad campaign that elements of the UK farming industry claims is misleading.

The campaign is titled “Help-dad” and shows fathers as their teenage children attempt to coax them out of drinking cow’s milk.

“We know we’re in the midst of a climate emergency, but there’s a group in society who aren’t grasping the urgency of it,” Michael Lee, creative director of Oatly, said.

“‘Help-dad’ is our way of helping teens help their dad or mum or uncle or anyone else in their life in need of some veggification, to adopt a more plant-based lifestyle.”

The campaign seems to have impressed certain middle aged men already.

Yet elements of the social media activity that Oatly has created to support the campaign has annoyed some British farmers. A tweet claimed that “The dairy and meat industries emit more CO2e than all the world’s planes, trains, cars, boats etc combined.

UK farmers have disputed that figure. According to Farmer’s Weekly “with regards to UK, figures from the Committee on Climate Change suggest that transport actually accounts for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions, while agriculture produces 10% and livestock less than half of that.

It also cites a more recent (2018) assessment by FAO livestock experts Anne Mottet and Henning Steinfeld conclude that “direct emissions from transport account for about 14% of all emissions from human activities, while direct emissions from livestock account for 5% of the total”.

So who is right?

There are several other surveys that also peg the percentage of greenhouse gases caused by agriculture at around 10%. Though a 2018 survey by Poore and Nemecek claimed that food production causes 26% of global carbon emissions.

While in 2018 researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent.

If everyone stopped eating these foods, they found that global farmland use could be reduced by 75 per cent, an area equivalent to the size of the US, China, Australia and the EU combined.

Oatly so far hasn’t responded.


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