Move Over, PETA: Meat Companies Have A New Thorn In Their Side
· there’s a new thorn in the side of factory farms, and it’s coming from the unlikeliest of places; Wall Street
· more than 70 percent of meat and livestock index companies do not have targets for reducing GHG emissions.
Michael Pellman Rowland, Contributor, Forbes
Apr 7, 2019
Long gone are the days when meat producers worried about animal-welfare groups like PETA. These days, there’s a new thorn in the side of factory farms, and it’s coming from the unlikeliest of places; Wall Street . Today’s nemesis isn’t throwing blood at consumers or dressing up as dead animals in grocery aisles. Instead, they’re dressed in Armani suits and taking aim at the one place companies really care about. Their wallets.
Investors have always been the driver of corporate behavior, as the c-suite has a legal obligation to maximize their returns. Climate change, don’t worry about that. Clean waterways, put those to the side. Now tell me, how much earnings per share have you generated in the last quarter? It’s no wonder our planet is limping along like a junkie after one too many hard nights.
Thankfully, there is a growing cadre of investors that care very much about the bottom line and see factory farms becoming increasingly vulnerable to the declining health of our planet and its inhabitants, humans included.
FAIRR, a consortium of over 80 investors representing over $12 Trillion in assets (yes, you read that right), has begun calling out the largest agricultural food companies to collectively get their “manure” together, and start planning for a world where meat and dairy are no longer the darlings of the food world.
FAIRR was launched back in 2015 by Jeremy Coller, one of the most influential private equity managers around the globe. For Coller, the data was too hard to ignore.
“Every day around 84 million adults consume fast food in the US alone, but the inconvenient truth of convenience food is that the environmental impacts of the sector’s meat and dairy products have hit unsustainable levels. To put this in perspective, if cows were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.”
Fast forward to today, Coller has built FAIRR into one of the largest investor groups in the world, taking dead aim at the factory farming industry. Recently, FAIRR sent letters to six of the largest fast-food chains which manage over 120,000 restaurants worldwide and include McDonald’s, Domino’s, and the owners of Burger King and KFC. The goal is to encourage these companies to set targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from their meat and dairy supply chains.
FAIRR's consortium of investors have immense sway. If they determine they don't like the way these companies are managing their risks, they can decide to trim or reduce their positions in these companies entirely. That's the kind of thing that gets a CEO's attention.
The letters call on the fast food companies to do the following:
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