Think you’re green? You’ve gotta be vegan

| 22 February 2024
minute reading time
Unhappy burger

It’s now well-known that what we eat affects the environment. In the UK, the average person eats 122 grams of meat a day. This study found that, compared to diets containing over 100 grams of meat a day, a vegan diet produces 75 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 75 per cent less land, uses 54 per cent less water and results in 66 per cent less biodiversity loss.

A second study found how even moderate intakes of animal foods have a damaging effect. A vegan diet was found to have a 44 per cent lower environmental impact than the Mediterranean diet, which contained only a small amount of animal foods, equating to less than 11 per cent of calories.


Scarborough P, Clark M, Cobiac L et al. 2023. Vegans, vegetarians, fish-eaters and meat-eaters in the UK show discrepant environmental impacts. Nature Food. 4 (7) 565-574.

Filippin D, Sarni AR, Rizzo G et al. 2023. Environmental impact of two plant-based, isocaloric and isoproteic diets: the vegan diet vs. the Mediterranean diet. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 20 (5) 3797.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
Justine joined Viva! in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. After working as a campaigner, then researcher and writer, she is now Viva!’s head of research and her work focuses on animals, the environment and health. Justine’s scientific training helps her research and write both in-depth scientific reports, such as White Lies and the Meat Report, as well as easy-to-read factsheets and myth-busting articles for consumer magazines and updates on the latest research. Justine also recently wrote the Vegan for the Planet guide for Viva!’s Vegan Now campaign.

View author page | View staff profile

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