Did you know your pet has an impact on the environment? A minor one, yes, but still very much present in the atmosphere.
Whether you have a dog or a cat, your pet emits carbon dioxide (CO2) through the food he or she consumes, the toys he or she plays with and his or her medical needs. Food seems to be the biggest emitting factor as pets have a primarily meat-based diet.
How much does your pet emit and why?
Whilst much smaller than the typical UK adult’s carbon footprint, cats and dogs can emit from 310kg of CO2e for a medium cat, up to a whopping 4 tonnes of CO2e for a large Great Dane! This is mostly due to the fact that they are carnivores, whilst small furry creatures with a vegetarian diet like rabbits and guinea pigs have a much smaller impact. (Sources: Nature (Vol. 562), Global Environmental Change (Vol. 65)).
Actually, according to Pernilla Westergren, founder of Swedish insect-based pet food start-up Petgood, “having a pet is equivalent to owning a car in terms of emissions, and cats and dogs are responsible for 25% of global meat production”. (Source)
Inevitably, all these pets leave a massive carbon footprint on the planet. It’s estimated that an average-sized cat generates 310kg of CO2e per year, while an average-sized dog emits 770 kg. For a bigger barker, this figure even goes up to 2,500kg. Although dogs produce more CO2 emissions than cats (due to their higher caloric needs), the total amount of emissions produced by cats and dogs is astounding. What cats and dogs eat annually generates the same amount of carbon emissions as a year’s worth of driving 13.6 million cars. (Sources: Nature (Vol. 562), Global Environmental Change (Vol. 65)).
Why should you take action for your pet?
As a matter of fact, cats and dogs in the USA consume 19% of the number of calories Americans do in a year, equivalent to the total amount of calories consumed by the population of France in one year (Okin, 2017). If you were to rank pets against other countries’ populations based on their meat intake, pets would be in fifth place after Brazil, Russia, China and the U.S. (Folk, 2019).
We have grown up with a pet food industry that has engraved the idea that dogs and cats are carnivore animals. After several research pieces, there is no scientific studies showcasing the need for a meat-based diet for pets, and actually on the contrary the studies have shown they are more prone to be omnivore animals.
What can you do now to reduce your pets’ emissions?
There are many ways to take a stance for your pet’s emissions. At the end of the day, pets will continue producing emissions even with a healthier diet and there is a simple way of taking action. Simple way? Yes, have you ever heard of emission compensation?
Just like for yourself, you can compensate for your emissions by funding global projects that reduce or absorb CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. (add source) These projects vary in types including community-based, nature-based and renewable-based projects. Aside from their emission reductions, these projects have a variety of social impacts on local communities, ranging from job security for both men and women, access to education for children, better healthcare provisions and reduced poverty in general.
How you can take action for your pet through ClimatePositive?
We propose an efficient way to compensate your pet’s emissions by giving back more to the environment than your pet actually emits. What does this entail? Well, in a nutshell, being ClimatePositive demonstrates:
- The calculation of your pet’s emissions via a methodology audited by PwC
- Investments in the best CO2 reduction projects
- A 25% buffer on top of the emissions calculated ensuring all emissions are taken into account
- Your pet is ClimatePositive and you give back more to the environment
- Certification of your pet’s climate action