$70 trillion-backed FAIRR investor network finds meat and dairy industry failing to manage its biodiversity impacts, undermining targets of a new global deal for nature and exposing companies to increased regulatory, legal and reputational risks
New research today shows global meat and dairy sector performs very poorly on three biodiversity metrics expected to be part of a legally binding "Paris Agreement for nature" at COP15: Deforestation, nutrient pollution and freshwater conservation
At least 60% of companies source soy for feed from areas at high risk of deforestation and have still not set deforestation targets. Less than one in five meat, egg and dairy firms are adequately managing the pollution of waterways from manure
"Investors are focused on material financial risks for companies, and a global agreement on nature at COP15 would see the intensive animal agriculture industry face increased regulatory, legal, tax and reputational risks," says Jeremy Coller, Chair of $70 trillion FAIRR investor network
French version available
LONDON, December 06, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The world will gather in Montreal tomorrow to discuss a ‘Paris Agreement for Nature’ (COP15) including a set of proposed targets to halt and reverse global biodiversity loss. However, new data from FAIRR today shows the world’s biggest meat and dairy producers are currently unprepared to meet targets expected in such a deal.
The data comes from the release of the fifth annual Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index (the index) which assesses 60 publicly-listed animal protein producers worth a combined $360 billion (49 primarily produce meat, eggs and dairy, 11 are aquaculture companies), against ten environmental, social and governance (ESG)-related factors.
Jeremy Coller, Chair of FAIRR Initiative and CIO of Coller Capital, said,
"From rainforests to rivers, meat & dairy producers are failing to manage their biodiversity impacts. Industrial animal agriculture is the number one cause of deforestation and the number one user of fresh water globally. Investors are focused on material financial risks for companies, and a global agreement on nature at COP15 would see the intensive animal agriculture industry face increased regulatory, legal, tax and reputational risks.
"Change is possible. The industry appears to be open to it. And with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations making a significant announcement at COP27, committing to develop an agricultural roadmap to 1.5C by COP28, we can be confident this trend will continue to gain momentum as companies adapt to the inevitable transition to a more sustainable food system.
FAIRR’s findings are key to at least three of the proposed targets in the ‘Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework’ being discussed at COP15. The table below highlights the proposed targets alongside relevant findings from FAIRR’s Index report:
COP15 proposed target
Coller FAIRR index finding
Target (2) to protect freshwater and related ecosystems.
* 87% of meat, egg & dairy firms (41 of 47) do not assess if their farms are located in water-stressed areas, despite most farms being in regions already suffering from extremely high-water stress, or expected to in future. This includes Maple Leaf and Cal Maine Foods.
* Just two companies, Marfrig and WH Group (owners of Smithfield), provide guidance and technical assistance to feed farmers to help manage water availability and risk – despite 98% of meat & dairy’s water footprint coming from feed farming.
Target 7 to reduce pollution including reducing nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorus) lost to the environment by at least half.
* 83% of meat, egg and dairy firms (39 of 47) do not require suppliers to have management plans to prevent nitrogen and phosphorus from animal waste polluting waterways and stimulating toxic algae, including JBS and Tyson.
* 70% of Index companies also pose a risk to the environment through antibiotic waste, altering bacterial communities that underpin ecosystems.
Target 8 to minimize climate change’s impact on biodiversity by, for example, preventing deforestation.
* at least 60% of Index companies source soy for feed from areas at high risk of deforestation and have still not set deforestation targets. Even high-street brands like Nestlé and McDonald’s with strong deforestation commitments continue to use suppliers such as Fujian Sunner and New Hope that do not track deforestation.
The FAIRR Initiative is a collaborative investor network, founded by Jeremy Coller, with a membership of $70 trillion assets under management. FAIRR works with institutional investors to define the material ESG issues linked to intensive livestock and fish farming systems and provide them with the tools necessary to integrate this information into their asset stewardship and investment decisions. This includes the Coller FAIRR Index, the world’s first comprehensive assessment of the largest global animal protein companies on environmental, social and governance issues. Visit www.fairr.org and follow @FAIRRInitiative
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221206005155/en/