ACTAsia and Oatly: Working together for a sustainable future

ACTAsia was honoured to welcome Chloe Lin from global food producer Oatly to speak at our annual Plant Forward campaign in September 2023.

The webinar was a highlight of the campaign as consumers learnt more about the pioneering Oatly and how the company is committed to promoting sustainable practices. 

ACTAsia’s partnership with Oatly for the Plant Forward campaign was forged on the foundation of shared values: advocating plant-based diets, reducing carbon emissions, combatting climate change and halting biodiversity loss.

What is Plant Forward?

Plant Forward is an online event organised by ACTAsia’s Compassionate Choices Network (CCN) to inspire Asian consumers to explore the benefits of a plant-based sustainable lifestyle.  ACTAsia wants to help people in Asia learn that the food we eat, and the choices we make in our daily lives, all have an impact on the environment and animals, as well as our own health. The Plant Forward campaign contributes towards the achievement of TEN United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Partnering with global entities such as Oatly helps to expand the reach of this campaign.

Plat forward logo over oat vectors
Plant Forward, an online event by ACTAsia’s Compassionate Choices Network, aims to inspire Asian consumers towards a plant-based lifestyle

Who is Oatly?

Oatly, who originated from Sweden, is a pioneering diary alternative manufacturer producing a wide range of oat-based products. The iconic Oatly cartons can be found on supermarket shelves worldwide. Oatly’s consumer base champions the company’s ground breaking corporate attitude towards sales and the planet. 

Oatly is a globally recognised brand and thinks differently to other corporates by striving to: ‘Shift consumption of animal-based diets to plant-based diets in order to help secure the longevity of our planet’.  This mission reflects Plant Forward’s objectives to contribute to a sustainable future by advocating plant-based living.

wow no cow slogan, Oatly
“Wow No Cow”, a phrase popularized by Oatly. This slogan encapsulates the essence of plant-based milk alternatives

Insights from Chloe Lin: What we learnt from Oatly

The Chinese beverage market

Oatly opened the door to the Chinese market in 2018. In a short period of time, Oatly has rapidly expanded its market size and led the trend of plant-based diets in China. 

As Chloe explains:The global food industry contributes 25% to 30% of carbon emissions, with animal-based products accounting for about 60% of this. The carbon emissions of global animal-based foods are similar to those of transportation. However, if more consumers shift their diet from animal based to plant-based, it can directly contribute to global carbon reduction. The rise of new plant-based food categories represented by Oatly is encouraging people to pay attention to the nutritional and environmental attributes of plant-based products.’

Has it been a smooth transition for Oatly into the Chinese market?

Chloe confessed that Oatly’s arrival in the Chinese market five years ago was not easy. As Chloe explains: ‘Previously, Chinese consumers did not know what oat milk was and market feedback was very poor. We looked at the drinking habits of Chinese consumers and focused on coffee drinkers who tend to have higher consumption and are relatively sensitive to environmental issues. In less than half a year, Oatly occupied more than 90% of the premium coffee market in Shanghai. Firstly, it has a good taste and coffee enthusiasts have accepted the ‘oat milk latte’. Secondly, it is highly favoured by consumers who are concerned about environmental issues.’ 

Meeting UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Like ACTAsia, Oatly is committed to working towards achieving the United Nations SDG’s. These are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a ‘blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all’

Chloe is responsible for both Oatly’s business development and sustainability in the Asia Pacific region. As Chloe explained: ‘One of the three Oatly core values is sustainability. Not only do we use sustainable raw materials and packaging, we follow this to treatment of processing by-products and waste in a sustainable way. Oatly’s long-term sustainability goal is to achieve a 70% reduction in climate footprint per litre of oat milk produced by 2029 compared to 2019, and we actively pursue direct emission reduction.’

ACTAsia is thrilled that Oatly shares our values and is 100% committed to contributing towards the sustainable development of animals, people and the environment.

Other ways that Oatly is promoting SDGs and environment protection

The subject of comprehensive sustainable practices was at the heart of the webinar. Chloe confirmed that Oatly is working to make sure that every aspect of its supply chain is sustainable. This includes the sourcing of its coffee beans and oats, making use of the ‘waste’ materials generated after making the oat milk and ensuring the packaging is recyclable. Oatly is also looking at implementing a systematic approach to ensure that their brand can help to solve environmental issues such as biodiversity loss and climate changein order to achieve greater social impact but also to reach their economic goals. 

Decreasing Oatly’s carbon footprint was high on the agenda. Oatly talked about renewable energy for their production plants and the producing process. Chloe explained that Oatly is committed to reducing transportation and decreasing its carbon footprint by having local sources, local factories and local production.  

During the webinar, Chloe also spoke passionately about Oatly’s commitment to sustainability. Oatly is keenly aware of the importance of ESG – Environmental, Social and Governance – and how it is vital to make corporate decisions that will positively impact people, the planet and how an organisation is governed. 

Working together to achieve a better future

ACTAsia was thrilled to invite Chloe to the stage at our Plant Forward event.  Her talk was enlightening and inspiring. As Oatly states: ‘Companies have responsibility for building a society that every one of us living in this world can admire.’ The partnership between ACTAsia and Oatly stands as testament to the power of collaboration in advancing sustainability. 

We look forward to furthering our partnership with a global corporate who shares our vision for ‘a compassionate world for animals, people and the environment’. 

Webinar speakers
Watch the webinar on YouTube

If you’re inspired by ACTAsia’s goals and wish to make a positive change, please consider donating. Your contribution directly fuels our efforts, ensuring long term sustainable change. Help us further our cause and ensure a kinder future for animals, people, and our planet. Donate here