Building Sustainable Protein Supply Chains

FAIRR’s global collaborative investor engagement on sustainable protein is the first to encourage the world’s largest food companies to develop a global, evidence-based approach to diversify protein sources away from an over-reliance on animal proteins.

The engagement asks 25 global food companies to diversify their protein sources to drive growth, increase profitability, reduce risk exposure, and improve their ability to compete and innovate in a resource-constrained world. Currently, Phase 4 of the engagement is supported by 88 institutional investors representing over $13.1 trillion in combined assets.


Phase 4

Phase 4 of the engagement is now underway.

In this phase, the engagement asks 25 global food retailers and brand manufacturers to publicly disclose information on their intention and long-term approach to transitioning protein portfolios towards lower impact and more sustainable sources that include plant-based and/or alternative proteins to support a dietary transition in line with a 1.5-degree world.


Alternative proteins are now big business: plant-based foods are leading growth for the food sector. For investors, an expanding alternative protein portfolio is a lever for growth. More importantly, it is a fundamental and necessary component to manage a company’s exposure to the most material ESG risk facing the food sector. A sole focus on supply chains, which is isolated from portfolio composition, will result in greater capital investment to address risks as demand for meat, dairy and fish continues to grow.

Companies must complement their supply chain interventions with a systematic transition to ensure their protein portfolio results in better health outcomes and is in line with planetary boundaries.

What do we mean by protein diversification?

Any protein diversification strategy cannot simply focus on adding a few new alternative protein products to the current portfolio. It requires companies to develop a comprehensive strategy to expand product development and research, explore the applicability of new food technologies and acquisitions, leverage their marketing power to influence consumers to embrace new products and engage their supplier community to mitigate impacts on farmer livelihoods. To undertake such a transformation, companies must:

  • Evaluate their current exposure to animal proteins and the risk profile of these supply chains
  • Assess the strategic implications of growth plans that are predicated on a higher reliance on animal proteins (through scenario analysis).
  • Commit at the highest level to transitioning their global business model to less resource-intensive food products
  • Develop a cross-functional strategy (involving R&D, marketing, sustainable sourcing) to undertake a transition
  • Set clear goals and timelines to achieve a transition
  • Report on the right metrics to evaluate portfolio transition

Contact: Jo Raven, Engagement Manager

Related Reports

Explore the FAIRR reports which address the growing alternative protein sector.

The latest report is a progress update on our Sustainable Protein engagement with 25 global food companies. It provides industry insight on how companies are beginning to diversify their protein sources to drive growth and support a low-carbon product portfolio.


The global food industry is currently undergoing enormous transformation led by rapidly evolving sector dynamics. Consumers are leading the charge, prioritising products and ingredients…

23rd Jul 2019 | faaziadam


Why investors should guide companies to produce protein in ways that stay within our planet’s limited resources.…

25th Sep 2016 | FAIRR_admin

Join the Network

Becoming an investor member of FAIRR puts you at the heart of a global network of investors seeking to understand and manage issues linked to intensive livestock production.

Why Join?

  • Access to new research and analysis on the potential material impacts of factory farming.
  • Regular updates, presentations, newsletters and private events.
  • The opportunity to join collaborative engagements with relevant companies (investor members only).
  • Access to best practice tools, networking and knowledge sharing with the FAIRR investor network.
  • Showing a public commitment to considering factory farming issues as part of the investment process.