Member AUM
$70 trillion

Phase 1 Outcomes

In September 2022, FAIRR launched a first-of-its-kind collaborative investor engagement focused on addressing the biodiversity risk driven by nutrient pollution from animal waste. The aim of the engagement is to drive pork and poultry producers to conduct meaningful risk assessments around their management of manure and animal waste and to put in place action plans that reduce their impact on biodiversity.

Phase 1 Key Findings

Animal waste management is key to addressing biodiversity risks

The importance of addressing biodiversity risks from inefficient use and management of nutrients is highlighted in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework’s Target 7, which calls for reducing excess nitrogen and phosphorus loss to the environment by half by 2030.

The intensification of meat and dairy production combined with poor management of manure and animal waste will continue to drive nutrient loss to the environment, a planetary boundary already vastly exceeded.

3.1 billion tonnes

of livestock manure created every year are 4x the volume of human sewage, with a fraction of the treatment

27%

of US nitrogen discharges to waterways from industrial sites are attributed to slaughterhouses

50%

of freshwater biodiversity loss can be attributed to food systems, with nutrient pollution a key driver

+600,000

people die annually from air pollution from agricultural ammonia emissions

400

severely marine eutrophic zones globally lack the oxygen necessary to support biodiversity at a meaningful level

$194 billion

global chemical fertiliser market size offers potential financial opportunity for alternatives

1/3

of EU water bodies are under significant pressure from nutrient pollution from agricultural sources

$0.4-5 million

cost of on-farm biodigesters to capture methane and compost manure, depending on capacity

Risks are poorly assessed, and opportunities are not seized

The ten pork and poultry producers assessed by FAIRR perform poorly against risk assessment, value chain coverage, action plan, and nutrient circularity KPIs, indicating little work has been done in measuring the risk and putting in place tangible action plans to address animal manure and wastes. Inaction and poor disclosure expose companies to biodiversity risks and leave them unable to capitalise on opportunities from manure and animal waste.

  • Risk assessment: the adoption of nature and biodiversity as an overarching strategic focus driving actions on various risk drivers, such as nutrient pollution’s impact on water quality, remains in its early days.

  • Value chain coverage: Very few companies were able to discuss how nutrient pollution may be a risk beyond their own facilities.

  • Action plan: Most companies have some actions in place. Yet it quickly became clear during dialogues that the sector’s efforts are driven by regulatory compliance rather than a top-down philosophy with clear plans and targets.

  • Circularity: Most meat producers have poor nutrient circularity. Even for those companies operating in locations where spreading onto neighbouring crops entails a relatively low nutrient pollution risk, further investment will likely be needed to improve the quality of the manure and animal waste.

FAIRR-Company Performance in FAIRR’s Waste & Pollution Assessment

Risk mitigation actions are common, while nutrient circularity practices are emerging

Every producer except Seaboard and BRF mentioned making or considering investments in solutions that are mitigatory by nature, such as composting and drying of manure and animal waste to make high-grade organic fertilisers, providing agronomic support to downstream recipients of manure to ensure their safe application, feed supplements, dietary animal feed adjustments, transport of waste, and supplier engagement with animal feed producers.

Disclosure and strategies around nutrient circularity are still at the nascent stage. Only three companies indicated an interest in economic opportunities from circularity, focusing on extracting nutrients from manure and animal waste to produce fertilisers.

FAIRR-Actions focused on mitigating the risk of nutrient pollution are common, while circularity practices are emerging