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Investors Demand Food Giants Address Factory Farming

Kraft, Heinz, Walmart, and 13 others put under pressure to mitigate meat risk with plant-based protein.

Last week, the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return Initiative (FAIRR) sent a demand letter to 16 major food companies—including Walmart, Unilever, Kraft, Heinz, Nestle, Costco, and Whole Foods Market—to inquire about their plans to address the growing crisis of the material impact of factory farming. In the letter, investor coalition FAIRR pointed out the risks of industrial animal production based on their findings from a recent Oxford University study revealing that a global reduction in meat consumption would result in $1.5 trillion in healthcare related savings by 2050. “The world’s overreliance on factory farmed livestock to feed the growing global demand for protein is a recipe for a financial, social and environmental crisis,” FAIRR Founder Jeremy Coller says. “Intensive livestock production already has levels of emissions and pollution that are too high, and standards of safety and welfare that are too low.” Coller calls upon corporations to provide a strategy to combat the effects of factory farming because he says the planet “simply can’t cope with the projected increase in global protein demand.” The coalition, comprised of influential investors such as Robeco, Aviva Investors, and Boston Common, amongst others—and with a combined fund of over $1 trillion—put out the call to action because, according to Coller, “Investors want to know if major food companies have a strategy to avoid this protein bubble, and to profit from a plant-based protein market set to grow by 8.4% annually over the next five years.”

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