Swedes’ meat consumption continues to decrease

Swedes are eating less meat than ever before, according to new figures from the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket).

Swedes’ meat consumption continues to decrease
Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT
After last year produced the largest annual reduction in meat consumption since the organization started recording the figures in 1990, the downward trend has continued throughout the first three quarters of this year. 
From January through September, there was a 2.8 percent overall decline in meat consumption. On average, Swedes consumed 1.8 fewer kilograms of meat through the first nine months of 2018. 
“Market trends, climate considerations, a focus on health and animal ethics are all factors in our current consumption trends,” Jordbruksverket spokesperson Åsa Lannhard Öberg said in a press release
Although eco-conscious Swedes are likely well aware of the enormous carbon footprint of meat production, there may also be a less altruistic reason behind the decline. 
“Meat sales declined in many stores during the summer as a result of the barbecue ban, but consumption is also decreasing longer-term so there we can’t just point to the summer months to explain the decline,” Lannhard Öberg said.
The summer of 2018 saw Sweden hit by the worst wildfires in more than 50 years, prompting authorities to put in place bans on all kinds of open fire, including barbecues across the country. The majority of those bans were put in place in early summer and lifted by the end of August. 
Increasingly, when Swedes reach for meat products in the supermarket they are placing home-grown products in their carts. Jordbruksverket’s figures showed that demand for Swedish meat and poultry increased significantly. Domestic lamb led the way, with a six percent increase, while Swedish beef increased by 4.4 percent, pork by 3.2 and Swedish poultry by 2.3 percent. 
Lannhard Öberg attributed the increases in Swedish meat and poultry to an increased focus on environmental sustainability, which she said is particularly strong within the Swedish agriculture sector. 

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Sweden to set world’s first consumption-based emissions target

Sweden political parties have unanimously backed the world's first consumption-based emissions target, with the country aiming to hit net zero by 2045.

Sweden to set world's first consumption-based emissions target

The committee responsible for setting Sweden’s environmental goals on Thursday presented its proposals for what goals Sweden should set for greenhouse has emissions linked to the country’s consumption. 

“No other country in the world has done what we have done,” Emma Nohrén, chair of the climate goals committee, said at a press conference announcing the goals. “There has been a pioneering sprit.” 

About 60 percent of the emissions caused by people living in Sweden are released in other countries producing goods to be consumed in Sweden, meaning Sweden’s production-based emissions goals, like those of other countries, arguably misrepresent Sweden’s impact.  

In a press statement, the government said that as well as the 2045 consumption emissions target, the committee has suggested setting targets for the climate impact of its exports, include emissions from flights and cargo ships in its long-term national climate goals, and aim to include emissions from internal flights in its target for domestic transport by 2030.  

The committee also proposes that emissions from goods and services ordered by the public sector should decline at a faster rate than those of the rest of the country. 

Amanda Palmstierna, an MP for the Green Party who sits on the committee, said it was positive that the new goals had the backing of all seven of Sweden’s parliamentary parties. 

“It’s important that all the parties are backing this proposal so that it can become implemented,” she said. “Significant action is required now. We have so little time, as we saw in the IPCC report which came out on Monday.”