Despite the fact that 20 livestock companies emit more greenhouse gas than Germany, Britain or France, these companies have received $478 billion in funding in the last five years, according to a report by environmental campaigners.
Livestock releases greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Globally, the sector contributes 14 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions.
According to Meat Atlas, a report compiled by Friends of the Earth and European political foundation Heinrich Böll Stiftung, over 2,500 investment banks, private banks and pension funds have pumped in cash in meat and dairy companies from 2015 to 2020. Some of the biggest investors include Vanguard, Capital Group, Black Rock, and the Norwegian government pension fund. The funding will raise meat production by 40 million tonnes to 366 million tonnes a year by 2029.
This will have a negative impact on the environment as animal agriculture accounts for 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Rich countries would have to reduce meat and dairy consumption to help tackle the climate crisis, claim environmentalists.
The report has cited the 2018 findings of two non-profit organisations -- GRAIN and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy -- on emissions from 35 of the world’s largest meat and dairy producers. They found that five meat and milk giants -- JBS, Tyson, Cargill, Dairy Farmers of America and Fonterra -- produced more emissions annually than oil majors Exxon, Shell or BP.
“We need to begin reducing the number of food animals on the planet and incentivise different consumption models,” Stanka Becheva, a food and agriculture campaigner from Friends of the Earth, told The Guardian.
The report stated that China, Brazil, European Union and the USA will continue to be the biggest producers of meat, producing 60 percent of the global output by 2029.
However, meat alternatives are not a solution for the environmental problem, the campaigners said. Banks, investors and development banks like World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development should refrain from financing animal protein production projects. They also called for more meat industry regulation to ensure that these companies pay for the harm they have done and cut damage.
Meanwhile, the National Farmers’ Union in England and Wales plans to bring down greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture to zero by 2040.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)