Last Thursday, Elysabeth Alfano, CEO of VegTech™ Invest and Plant Powered Consulting, gave a press conference titled Impact Investing for a Sustainable Food System at the COP27 summit, alongside Raphael Podselver, Director of UN Affairs for ProVeg International.
An invited speaker to the Food4Climate Pavilion, Elysabeth attended the second week of the summit to discuss the role of finance and investing in helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues.
“Public companies and markets, as well as venture start-ups and investors, must step up to the plate for action in developing more sustainable food systems, investment in existing and novel alternative proteins and Plant-based Innovation and immediate work towards supply chain transparency,” Alfano stated.
A Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study carried out in conjunction with Blue Horizon states that investing in alternatives can be 3-times to 40-times more impactful at reducing greenhouse gas emissions than investing in other ‘green’ advancements such as sustainable building materials and transportation.
Addressing Animal Agriculture is Critical to Climate Change
Alfano joined other food industry leaders working to convey the message to the larger community that we won’t sufficiently impact climate change in the time needed unless we address the methane and deforestation caused directly by animal agriculture.
According to EPA, almost one-third of all global methane emissions and 37% of US methane emissions come from animal agriculture. In addition, it is responsible for 41% of the tropical deforestation and uses 42% of the world’s clean water.
A COP first: discussing food supply systems
The Food4Climate Pavilion was hosted by A Well-Fed World, Compassion in World Farming, Food Tank, Four Paws, iPES Food, and ProVeg international. Topics ranged from Farmers and a Just Transition, Plant-based and Protein Innovation and Diversification, and Loss & Food Waste Systems and Food Insecurity, while Elysabeth discussed the role of private and public investment in the creation of an efficient, cruelty-free, and sustainable food supply system.
This year marked the first of the UN climate conferences to address the role of our food system in climate change and food insecurity. However, there was minimal discussion with only four pavilions of hundreds dedicated to the subject. The majority of pavilions did not address food systems or animal agriculture’s role in climate change. In terms of the foods available at the event, there were some vegan options offered on-site, but for the most part, every meal carried carbon-intensive options of beef, chicken and fish.
Offering some hope, it is reported by Food Tank that “more than 150 countries have now signed up to a global pact to reduce methane emissions-50 more than when the US and EU launched the Global Methane Pledge during the Glasgow climate talks last year.” A focus on reducing methane should, although it isn’t guaranteed, represent a reduction in animal agriculture.