In The Wash
Arla: CO2e neutral
One of the largest dairy companies in the world with huge associated emissions (18.9 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions per year), Arla claims carbon neutrality on a key product simply by reducing emissions ‘as much as possible’ and then offsetting - or ‘compensating’ them.
Offsetting, whether that’s through nature restoration or energy projects is unreliable and difficult to measure and as such is a false solution to emissions and climate impact of products. Arla disclose that this range of milk, ‘from cow to consumer’ emits 123,000 tonnes of CO2e and they will now fund projects that they claim absorb ‘no less than the same amount of CO2e resulting in a total emission of zero’. This gives the consumer the false impression that there is no climate impact from buying the milk. At best the offsets projects could capture the same amount of emissions but this is only after 100 years and there’s no way to garuntee this.
Arla claim they plan to ‘change the biological processes involved in dairy production’ in order to reduce their climate impact and that offsetting is a temporary solution but provide no readily available information about progress towards this goal. Reducing emissions is valid; making overblown claims about carbon neutrality without substantiation is not.
Arla’s claim was banned in a Swedish court ruling in early 2023 and they have since removed references to the product from their site but no retraction or correction has been issued to show they understand the claim was misleading.
Doesn't reflect the full life cycle