Agriculture / Agribusiness

GHG Emissions of Meat and Dairy Giants Increase Over 3% Yearly, Shows FAIRR Protein Index

As global leaders prepare for COP28 in Dubai and with FAO revealing the “true cost of food,” data from the Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index shows that disclosed emissions from 20 of the largest meat and dairy companies are still rising yearly. 

Specifically, figures show a 3.28% rise in the emissions of suppliers to household names, including McDonald’s and Walmart, and firms such as Hormel Foods (US) and New Hope Liuhe (China). 

On the other hand, the data shows that Tyson Foods and Danone reported a decrease in their disclosed emissions this year; however, the progress made by these companies has been counteracted by the sector’s total emissions, says FAIRR. 

“The failure of leading meat and dairy companies to reduce emissions underlines the urgent need for more policy focus on the food and agriculture sector,” says Jeremy Coller, Chair and founder of the FAIRR network.

Different types of plant-based milk
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Urgent transition

Meanwhile, the $70 trillion-backed FAIRR investor network has recognized as positive the increasing transparency and information provided by companies in the meat and dairy industry: 40% disclosed their Scope 3 emissions (indirect GHG emissions of a company’s value chain).

US Tyson Foods and WH Group (owners of Smithfield Foods) unveiled all scopes for the first time this year. Nonetheless, only four of the twenty firms have set net-zero targets approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), adds FAIRR.

“The agriculture sector is not only essential for food production, it uses around half of the world’s habitable land and, if not carefully managed, can drive deforestation, biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions. A significant portion of those emissions and the majority of deforestation globally comes from the meat and dairy sector and FAIRR’s research underlines the urgency with which the livestock producers should act to transition to more sustainable production,” states Oshni Arachchi, Head of Active Ownership, Danske Bank.

The Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index provides data on 60 publicly listed animal protein producers. These companies have a total worth of $364 billion (as of March 1st, 2023). The Index evaluates these producers based on ten environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-related factors. The Protein Producer Index is used extensively by FAIRR investor members. 

“We welcome increasing transparency in the sector, but with time running out to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement we also need to see sector-wide action,” he adds.

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