Vegetarianism and Sustainability: 5 Ways Going Veggie Can Help People and Planet

In this month’s guest blog… 

Sustainable Wales Volunteer Sam Lewis explains five reasons why eating less meat is potentially a really easy way to cut your carbon footprint and overall impact on our planet.

1) Greenhouse Gas Emissions 

Research by the U.N Food and Agricultural Organisation earlier this year, showed that farmyard animals currently produce 18% of all greenhouse gases worldwide. This figure, however, has also been estimated to rise by 30% by 2050.

(Infographic by ‘Shrink that Footprint’, showing the impact of eating meat and other animal products on your personal annual CO2 emissions). 

2) Water consumption

While it costs roughly 900 litres of fresh water to produce one kilogram of wheat, the amount of fresh water that is required to produce the same amount of beef is over ten times that (about 100,000 litres)!

3) Pollution

It is currently estimated that, per year farmed, animals produce 13 billion tonnes of manure, which is often liquidated into slurry. Slurry often leaks into nearby waterways and can spread over large distances, adversely affecting aquatic life and soil, due to chemicals such as phosphorus being present.

4) Land loss

According to the Vegetarian Society, 30% of the world’s land mass is currently used solely for rearing livestock for consumption. Agriculture based on rearing livestock in Latin America is also responsible for almost 70% of the deforestation of the Amazon in order to create enough land for farms to be built.

5) Other potential benefits

A meat-free diet can also be beneficial financially if you are able to grow your own fruits and vegetables. Sourcing food locally and cutting road/air miles also reduces your carbon footprint.

How Can SUSSED Help? 

SUSSED, Sustainable Wales’ sister organisation, provides a plethora of tantalisingly tasty Fairtrade, organic, veggie, vegan and gluten-free products, from co-operative wholesaler Suma Wholefoods, who are dedicated to only supplying the most sustainable of sustenance! If you think there is something on the Suma website that we should be stocking, please drop us a line and we’ll see what we can do!

For more information visit:  ( (

By Sam Lewis