The environmental impact of soya versus meat production
If choosing between meat and soya, it is important to keep the environmental impacts of soya in perspective. Analyses nearly always suggest that meat is substantially worse in environmental terms than the alternatives.
Not eating soya directly does not mean that you are not eating soya at all. Per 100 grams, animal products contain the following amounts of embedded soya, from the soya used in feed:
- Chicken – about 109 grams (more than the weight of the actual meat)
- Farmed salmon – about 60 grams.
- Eggs – about 64 grams
- Pork or beef – about 50 grams
- Cheese – about 25 grams
- It wasn’t possible to find figures for sheep, although they may also be fed soya.
Climate impacts of meat and meat alternatives:
||Kg CO2 eq per kg product
These figures are best estimates based on a review of all of the life-cycle assessments out there. The huge variation in the figures is because it depends how production is done.
One study by Center for Industrial Ecology, Department of Mechanical Engineering suggested that, if deforestation happens for soya, the numbers can be significantly higher, Its estimates were 0.1 kg CO2 eq/kg if soya is produced sustainably, to 16.5 kg CO2 eq/ kg if produced on deforested land in the Amazon.
However, the overall consensus is that meat, particularly red meat, should be assumed to be worse for the climate.
About the companies producing meat-free sausages and burgers
Many of the companies in this area are too small to have subsidiaries in tax havens.
However, the following companies were given our worst rating for likely use of tax-avoidance strategies: Hain Celestial (Linda McCartney), Nestlé (Tivall), Unilever (the Vegetarian Butcher), Beyond Meat, Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda, Lidl, Waitrose, Morrison and Marks & Spencer.
The following got our middle rating: Iceland (No Bull) and Aldi.
Vegan and vegetarian companies
The following companies get a positive Company Ethos mark for being entirely vegan: Taifun, Tofurky, Upton Naturals, VBites, Dragonfly, Beyond Meat and Fry’s.
The following are entirely vegetarian, and so avoid getting marked down for selling meat: Vivera, Wicken Fen, and Sojade.
Vegan brands are marked with [Vg] on our score table.
Those that are marketed as vegan get an extra half mark in the Product Sustainability column whilst those certified as vegan by the Vegan Society get an extra whole mark.