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$1.25trn investor group gets teeth into meat producers

A coalition of investors – involving Aviva Investors, Swedish pension funds and Christian organisations such as the Congregation of Sisters of St Agnes – is urging multinational food companies to take action on meat production.

The 40-strong group controls $1.25 trillion (€1.11 trillion) of assets and says there are “material risks” to do with health and climate change posed by industrial meat production.

The coalition is to put pressure on 16 multinational food companies to respond to the risk, in particular by encouraging them to diversify into plant-based sources of protein.

Calling their action the “Protein Shake Up”, the initiative will target Kraft Heinz, Nestle, Tesco and Walmart, among others and the coalition includes Sweden’s AP2, AP3 and AP4 pension funds, fund manager Robeco Asset Management and private equity firm Coller Capital.

Jeremy Coller, the chief investment officer of Coller Capital and founder of the Fairr Initiative which established the coalition with ShareAction, said: “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. Intensive livestock production already has levels of emissions and pollution that are too high, and standards of safety and welfare that are too low.”

The industry “simply can’t cope” with the projected increase in global protein demand, he added, and said that the plant-based protein market is set to grow by 8.4% annually over the next five years.

The investors are responding to a recent Oxford University study which calculated that if global diets reduced their reliance on meat it could lead to healthcare-related savings and avoided climate damages of $1.5 trillion by 2050.

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