Building Sustainable Protein Supply Chains

Our 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 protein diversification. The engagement asks 23 global food companies to diversify their protein sources to drive growth and reduce risk exposure while improving their ability to compete and innovate in an increasingly resource-constrained world.

This year’s approach has evolved into dialogue-based engagement and will not involve sending company letters. Please note that the sign-on period has now closed.

Latest Findings

Phase 5 of the engagement was supported by 104 investors representing over $17.7 trillion in combined assets. The latest progress report, Appetite for Disruption: The Last Serving, was published in September 2021.

7 / 25 companies

now have targets to increase the volume and sales of meat and dairy alternatives and/or reduce brand-level emissions.

100 % of companies

in the engagement are investing in the development of plant-based products.


Alternative proteins are now big business and help drive growth in the food sector. For investors, an expanding alternative protein portfolio is a fundamental and necessary component to managing exposure to the most material ESG risks facing the food sector.

The Sustainable Proteins engagement is the world’s first and largest investor engagement focused on encouraging global food companies to systematically transition product portfolios to facilitate healthier, more sustainable diets. A key area of focus of the engagement is to ask companies to set time-bound commitments to increase the share of nutritious alternative proteins in their portfolios. Furthermore, companies must complement their supply chain interventions with a systematic transition to ensure that their protein portfolio improves public health in line with planetary boundaries.

Contact: Jo Raven, Senior Manager, Engagements

Protein Diversification

A protein diversification strategy cannot merely focus on adding a few alternative protein products to a company’s portfolio. It requires 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 the impacts on farmer livelihoods. To undertake such a transformation, companies must:

  • Evaluate their current exposure to animal proteins (meat, poultry, dairy, egg, fish and seafood) 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 ingredients and products
  • Develop a cross-functional strategy (involving R&D, marketing, sustainable sourcing) to undertake a transition
  • Set clear goals and timelines to support a clear pathway for action
  • Report on the right metrics to evaluate and measure progress and impacts