What would the world look like if all meat eaters went vegan? Conversely, what would the world look like if all vegans started consuming animal products? Well, the new Veganism Impact Report shows the results of these questions in a simple and easy to understand way helping visualise how society would be impacted in terms of heart disease, agriculture, cancer and CO2 emissions.
If the entire world went vegan the report calculates that 4.11 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent food-related emissions would be released each year, representing a 70% decrease. In terms of agricultural usage, in 2018 some 1.5 billion hectares of the world’s total land surface was used for agriculture out of a total of 13.4 billion hectares – this could be reduced by nearly two thirds to 540 million hectares if the entire world went vegan.
If only 20% went vegan the decrease in CO2 emissions would be as much as 14%. The land needed for agriculture worldwide would be 1.308 billion hectares, 73% of which would be for livestock.
The study used statistics on the world’s annual product consumption, as well as on other statistics on employment, trade, health, the economy and the environment. Sources included the NHS, Macmillan, the Office for National Statistics, Europa and the RSPCA.
5.9% of the EU assumed to be vegan or vegetarian
The report assumes a vegan population in the UK of 1.16% and a vegan and vegetarian population in the EU of 5.9%.
Playing with the variables on the report’s site shows just how much heart disease and cancer linked to eating processed or red meat could be reduced.
The flip side that considers how different the world would look if no one was vegan shows how much UK exports of dairy products and eggs would be expected to rise. In fact, the rise is relatively small. That export market was worth £386 to the UK in 2017 but this would only grow by £4.5 million if the EU vegan population suddenly decided to consume dairy, an increase of a mere 1.16%.
Estimates are also available for this counter-trend measuring increases in the income and employment in the leather industry and potential trade and employment increases for fishermen.