Huel Guide to Sustainability

Sustainability is and has always been a topic very close to our hearts here at Huel. And unfortunately it is becoming more and more relevant as climate change is a reality we all have to face, and we all have to do something about it.

The climate crisis is now undeniable. We have only approximately 10 years left to try and keep global warming within 1.5 degrees before we face severe, irreversible climate impacts worldwide[1].

As tough as it might sound, something can still be done. While governments have already taken action and made commitments to contain global warming, these pledges currently only reduce warming to around 2.9 degrees. It will take efforts from individuals and companies to reduce it below the 1.5 degree threshold.

There are many actions big and small we can take and you may not know that one of the biggest things you can do to not only look after yourself a little better but reduce your impact on the environment too is to eat more sustainable foods in your diet. Read on to find out more.

So what can I do?

Acknowledging that climate change is a massive issue and wanting to do something about it is already an important step. And some of us are already taking some action one way or another.

But unfortunately there is so much misinformation and contradictory advice available that it’s easy to get lost.

Below is our summary of advice from leading climate and environmental scientists on the most impactful actions we can take. We also linked all these sources at the end of this article if you fancy learning more details.

High, moderate and low impact actions

First of all, let’s familiarise ourselves with the concept of tCO2e. All this means is how many tonnes of carbon dioxide are emitted by each activity, also known as carbon footprint.

Take a quick look at the graph below, which shows the amount of carbon emissions we could save with each action:

As an example, buying energy efficient light bulbs, recycling, hang drying your clothes instead of tumble drying, or even buying a hybrid car are all great things to do, and by all means we should all try to do as much as possible.

But to really make a significant difference, we really need to focus on the high impact end of the scale.

The largest reduction of carbon emissions can be achieved by:

  • Having one less child
  • Going car-free
  • Taking one long-haul flight less
  • Buying green energy
  • Switching from electric car to car-free
  • Eating a plant-based diet

Some of the items in the list above, like not having children or not travelling by car at all can mean drastic changes to one’s lifestyle, and may not always be realistically feasible.

Making a change: one step at the time

Like so many things in life, we believe sticking to a new lifestyle is easier when the switch is gradual and consistent. Of course, some people can go all-or-nothing, and make massive change overnight. And that’s great!

But we believe we need to get as many people as possible embracing the change to make an actual difference. And looking at the way we eat is the perfect place to start.

How to change the way you eat to make a positive impact

The way we eat contributes to nearly one third of global greenhouse gas emissions[2], which is what we call food-related carbon emissions. Based on recent sources[3], we estimate that by switching just one meal a day to plant-based eating you could cut your food-related carbon emissions by over a third. Better yet, switching two of your meals a day could almost halve your food related emissions.

The way we produce and eat our food is putting significant strain on the planet with many areas requiring improvement with the current view being eating more plant-based food and less meat is the right direction to take[4].

In an ideal world we would all switch to a diet that is primarily plants with a modest amount of animal products - with both plant and animal products coming from sustainable, low-greenhouse-gas emission production methods. But this can be tricky to get right, and it can also be a big change to one’s lifestyle.

How to switch to a more sustainable diet. Without compromising on nutrition

At Huel, we believe there is no single perfect diet but we believe that a diet that is sustainable, efficient and made from low-impact, nutritious food sources is better for everyone and better for the planet.

But the answers aren’t always straightforward. Both plants and meat can be produced sustainably and unsustainably.

We firmly believe that moving to a sustainable diet should not be difficult, expensive, or less nutritious. That’s precisely why we created Huel. We work hard to try and contain the environmental impact of Huel throughout the whole supply and production chain as much as possible. And we’re constantly striving to improve our formula and the carbon footprint of everything we do.

There are many ways to eat a healthy, low-impact and sustainable diet and Huel is just one of them. Huel is simple to prepare, it’s delivered straight to your door, and it contains a balance of protein, carbohydrates, essential fats, fibre and all 26 essential vitamins and minerals. A meal of Huel Powder starts from only ¥193.

About the author

Jessica Sansom is the head of sustainability at Huel. She is responsible for ensuring that Huel stays true to its mission to offer a food solution with minimal environmental impact.

Jessica has over 20 years experience working in sustainable food. Previously at Innocent Drinks, she was behind much of the sustainability strategy and projects still in place there today, this led innocent to be consistently recognised as a brand that put sustainability at the heart of the business.

At McDonald’s she was instrumental in kick-starting their work on sustainable sourcing and the use of old frying oil as biodiesel in their delivery vehicles. Jessica’s work focuses on the development and implementation of strategic plans that ensure sustainability is incorporated into business models, everyday business practices and consumer communications. Jessica has a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science and a Masters in Environmental Law.

References

  1. IPCC, 2018: Global Warming of 1.5°C.An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, H.-O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J.B.R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M.I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, and T. Waterfield (eds.)]. In Press
  2. Vermeulen SJ, Campbell BM, Ingram JSI. Climate change and food systems. Annu Rev Environ Resour 2012; 37: 195-222
  3. Scarborough, P., Appleby, P.N., Mizdrak, A. et al. 2014. Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK. Climatic Change (2014) 125: 179.
  4. Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. Lancet 2019; Issue 10170, 393: 447-92

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