Why Oatly's relaunch focused on environmental concerns

Oatly, the Swedish plant-based milk company, has grown quickly following a rebrand that allowed it to talk about its broader values.

“Why do we exist as a company?” is not the sort of existential question CEOs tend to ask, especially if they’re at the mercy of a quarterly reporting schedule. But it’s one that exercises Toni Petersson of Oatly.

Since becoming CEO of the Swedish oat drinks company in 2012, he’s transformed the Malmö-based brand into one that thinks about itself as doing more than simply producing and selling a product. Founded in the 1990s, the company grew out of

“We talk about who we are as a company, the values that we have,” he explained. This approach has allowed the company to address a wide range of people and issues, from the prime minister and action on climate change to the complaints of a consumer about the product’s taste.

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