Podcast’s Essential Bites:
[4:20] AA: "Oatly really came about in the early 1990s. [...] It came out of some nutrition science at Lund University in Sweden. And our founder Rickard Öste was studying lactose intolerance and looking for [...] a nutritious and sustainable alternative to cow's milk. So both looking at the nutrition but also the environmental impact for people who maybe can't have or didn't want to have cow's milk."
[8:06] AA: "At Oatly sustainability isn't something that's in this separate department [...]. Our mission is to bring people moments of joy without recklessly taxing the planet's resources. [...] To me, that means nothing short of disrupting the current food system. And that really fits in with Oatly's brand, our voice, our persona. The food system is responsible for an estimated 1/3 of global greenhouse gas emissions. [...] How can we help drive the plant-based revolution and bring people this alternative to dairy, not only as a nutritious substitute, but also as a way to help people lower their environmental impact and lower their climate footprint."
[17:22] AA: "In Europe for about 130 of our products, we have the product level carbon equivalent footprint, either on packing [...] or there are a few markets or a few items where it has to be put on the web instead. [...] We then take the next step of trying to use those numbers to drive a dialogue. So one great example of this is in Germany, we had this campaign a year or two ago called "Hey, Bundestag" (German Parliament) [...]. And we had a campaign to the Bundestag in Germany to call for them to make climate footprints mandatory for products in Germany. And we felt like where the conversation was in Germany among people and among the government was at kind of an advanced stage that was ready for that kind of call to action."
[22:28] AA: "Energy and packaging are two of the areas that we focus on most, because they tend to be two of the big drivers in climate footprints. The other two big drivers being ingredients and transportation. [...] It's a fairly straightforward product portfolio, and therefore pretty straightforward, packaging portfolio. And that's true even as we grow. And so that's I think what's really behind us being able to achieve already 87% of our packaging coming from recycled or renewable materials. So this is really not about what happens to the packaging after it leaves the retail shop. But really about what goes into the packaging, which tends to be what determines the environmental impact of packaging the most. [...] [Our] goal [is to get to] 100% renewable and recycled material in our packaging by 2029."
[25:04] AA: "At the same time, packaging is usually not in the top three drivers of GHG emissions for companies. But it's the thing people see, it's tangible. And so it's what they care about, it's what they asked about. Energy, on the other hand, often is a bit more significant. And so for renewable energy, our big challenge isn't identifying renewable energy sources at existing sites. It's identifying renewable energy sources at the new sites as we continue to add so many factories over time."
[25:59] AA: "In 2021, we were able to reach 100% renewable electricity sourced for our two factories in the US [...]. And we had already achieved that previously in our two European factories [...]. But the trick here is electricity is only part of the battle. And those factories also use heat energy, or thermal energy, which tends to come in the form of gas. And the markets for renewable and biogas are just not nearly as developed as those for electricity. So that's kind of the next challenge."
[32:30] AA: "All of our products are oat-based [...] and that means that of our total direct material volume, over 80% of that volume is oats. [...] Our oats come from several different countries in the world, but [...] primarily Sweden, Canada, Finland, a bit from the US. [...] Primarily, there are large Miller traders that have a network of oat mills in a particular country or region and we're mostly buying our bulk from them. But we also in a bit more of a unique way, have a number of more direct farmer partnerships, where we're working directly with a group of a dozen or more farmers and one particular mill where we can concentrate some of that sourcing and really be building the relationship with those farmers as we more directly source those oats."