Here you can learn about the climate impact the production of eggs has and get advice for a more conscious consumption of eggs. 8 million hens are kept in industrial egg production in Sweden. The hens’ biology has been affected, through breeding and light programs, so that they lay almost one egg a day, all year round. It is very rough on the hen’s body. Of the hens, almost 13 percent, corresponding to 1 million hens, live in cages. There may be a maximum of 16 hens in such a cage and the area per hen is 600 square centimeters, which is less than an A4 sheet. The hens are killed when they are about 1.5 years old. Then they are no longer considered profitable in production. About half of the hens are transported to a slaughterhouse to be killed. Every year, more than 10,000 hens die in connection with such transports due to e.g. damage or inadequate ventilation.
About 16 percent of egg-laying hens in Sweden are in the organic egg industry. See what WWF writes about Organic Eggs (in Swedish). The hen housing is generally similar to that of ordinary “free-range”. The hens are kept in stables with large groups of up to 3000 animals, but they must be given access to a grassy resting area outdoors during the summer. They may not exceed six hens per square meter instead of nine.
1 kg of eggs causes 1-3 kg of greenhouse gasses. Most of the emissions come from the production of the hens’ feed, especially soy feed. If soybean cultivation takes place on deforested, new soil, carbon that has been bound in the soil and trees is released. It produces large emissions of greenhouse gasses. The chicken manure also produces some emissions.
Advice for a conscious consumption of eggs
- Replace eggs with, for example, chickpea stock for baking or loose tofu in a pie filling.
- Otherwise, choose organic and preferably locally produced eggs.
- Preferably choose small-scale produced eggs.
- Select Krav-labeled eggs. The labeling stands for a good environment, good animal care, good health and social responsibility, follows the EU regulation for organic production but has tougher requirements for animal husbandry.
Page updated 2021.