Climate Risks Threaten Investor Appetite for Intensive Livestock Production

Jun 14, 2023 8:00 AM ET

By Sofía De La Parra, FAIRR Initiative

At first glance, investment in the meat and dairy industry looks attractive. Global meat consumption is expected to grow over the next decade to a projected increase of 14% by 2030, according to the FAO. The changing global climate, however, poses significant risks and opportunities not just to this growth trajectory, but to the fundamentals of the industry.

From the rising price of feed to desertification of grazing lands and increasing regulation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from livestock production, climate-related risks require an extra layer of analysis for asset allocation in the sector and present opportunities for transformative change in the decades ahead. The Paradox of the Animal Protein Sector: Both a driver of climate change, and at risk from it. 

Readers of GreenMoney Journal are probably well-aware of the climate and environmental impacts of the animal agriculture sector. For instance, it releases more GHG emissions than every car on the planet combined, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that 14.5% of all global anthropogenic GHG emissions come from livestock production. The animal agriculture sector uses 30% of the planet’s freshwater resources and continues to be the largest driver of deforestation. It also has a large part to play in the ‘silent pandemic’ of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

What is less well reported however, and of increasing concern to financial institutions, is that the meat and dairy industry not just contributes to climate change, but is uniquely vulnerable to its effects. Investors are increasingly aware of, and acting on, these risks. It is why the FAIRR Initiative, which is focused on helping investors understand risks and opportunities related to intensive livestock production, has become one of the world’s fastest growing investor networks with supporters managing over $70 trillion of assets under management (AUM) joining the network since 2016.

Read Sofia's full article including sections on Regulatory risks, Preserving Long-term Value and What investors are doing about it. All here -