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High-Profile Investors Warn Meat Companies Are "High Risk"

A network of investors—which manage assets worth a combined total $5.9 trillion—warn industry colleagues of the high environmental impact of the world's largest meat and dairy producers, which include suppliers to McDonald's and KFC.

A new food index launched last week by investor network Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR)—which manages $5.9 trillion in assets, collectively—estimates the majority of meat, fish, and dairy corporations are impeding global environmental goals. The group scored 60 of the world’s largest animal agriculture companies—totalling $152 billion in market capital—and classified 36, including suppliers of McDonald’s and KFC, as “high risk” investments after assessing criteria such as greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, water management, and antibiotic use. FAIRR’s research, which aims to provide investors with a higher level of transparency, shows the companies are failing to address or disclose basic management across critical risks. In FAIRR’s assessment, it found that 72 percent of these companies showed poor or no reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, and 77 percent have no policies or processes in place to eliminate the use of antibiotics. “From fast food to fine dining, much of the food on our plates leads back to the livestock and fisheries sector assessed by this index,” Aviva Investors global head of responsible investment Abigail Herron said. “That is why it is of deep concern to investors that a majority of these global food suppliers are failing to manage such significant business risks.” Earlier this year, FAIRR released a report outlining the steps major food companies such as Costco, Walmart, and Tesco have taken—which include addressing consumer demand for plant-based alternatives to animal products—to mitigate the risks associated with supporting the animal agriculture industry.

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