Overuse of Antibiotics in Protein Supply Chains

Our collaborative investor engagement on Antibiotics was supported by more than 70 institutional investors, representing $5.5 trillion in AUM. To protect public health and long-term value creation, the engagement asks 20 global food companies to limit the use of antibiotics in their supply chains. This can be achieved by:

  • Establishing an antibiotics policy to phase out routine, prophylactic use across all supply chains.
  • Specifying clear targets and timelines for implementation.
  • Increasing transparency by reporting on implementation and data verification.

Latest Findings

The latest progress report (May 2019) outlines how investors are stepping up their efforts to manage antibiotic risk and what progress has been made on the issue, both from the corporate and policy-focused communities.

7 / 20 companies

disclose no information on their use of antibiotics

7 / 20 companies

use or have committed to using third-party audits for all or part of their supply chain


The use of antibiotics in protein supply chains is a leading cause of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in humans. The food industry is the largest consumer of antibiotics and often uses medicines to prevent disease or promote growth in otherwise healthy animals. In a recent report showing that drug-resistant infections could cost the world around US$100 trillion in lost output by 2050, the UK government described the practice as “excessive and inappropriate”.

The misuse of antibiotics presents a systemic risk to investor portfolios and public health, which is relevant to the food, pharmaceutical, healthcare and insurance industries.

Contact: Jo Raven, Senior Manager, Research & Engagements

Material Risks

The misuse of antibiotics in livestock is a significant contributor to AMR. Global meat production accounts for 73% of all antibiotic use, which is projected to increase by 11.5% between 2017 and 2030.  Protein producers have long used antibiotics to help animals achieve higher slaughter weights and prevent them from contracting diseases caused by unhygienic and crowded conditions,

Growing scrutiny on antibiotic use worldwide has resulted in better practices and more regulation. However, disclosure on the use of antibiotics remains poor, with 62% of Index companies (updated in December 2021) still categorised as ‘High Risk’.


See all the briefings that the FAIRR Initiative has released on the overuse of antibiotics in protein supply chains.


In 2016, FAIRR initiated a three-year collaborative engagement to ask large food companies to end the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics important to human health…

10th Nov 2017 | FAIRR Initiative


Outlines investment risks linked to farm antibiotic misuse, and how investors can drive improvements in the food industry.…

14th Nov 2016 | FAIRR Initiative