According to a new study published in The International Journal of Life Assessment, plant-based butter alternatives are much better than dairy butter when it comes to 18 environmental indicators.
The results show that traditional dairy butter is 3.7 times more damaging to the environment than vegan butter.
Researchers evaluated 18 environmental indicators, including key ingredient sourcing countries, production factory locations, packaging designs, and transportation.
They compared dairy butter and cream to 212 plant-based butter spreads, 16 plant-based creams, and 40 dairy alternatives sold in 21 countries per 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds).
The dairy butter emitted the carbon dioxide equivalent (CDE) of 26.7 pounds (12.1 kilograms) per kilogram of product, while the plant-based version emitted only 7.3 pounds (3.3 kilograms) CDE per kilogram.
“This study confirmed that plant-based spreads had lower climate, water, and land impacts than butter, despite variability of product recipes, geographies, and influence of land use change,” the researchers said.
According to the Oxford University study from 2018, the meat and dairy industries are responsible for 60 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.