Today, intensive production methods have become the dominant system of livestock and fish farming – farmed poultry today makes up 70% of all birds on the planet, and 60% of all mammals on Earth are livestock, mostly cattle and pigs. This trend is increasing with a large number of Asian countries, including China, consolidating farming operations to reduce fragmentation and increase production efficiencies.
This growing trend, combined with a burgeoning global middle class demanding more animal protein, positions meat, dairy and aquaculture companies favourably for capital investment. However, research also suggests that the dramatic expansion of this industry is exacerbating climate change impacts, water scarcity, food insecurity, biodiversity loss and drug resistance.
In 2016, FAIRR’s flagship report for investors, Factory Farming: Assessing Investment Risks, identified 28 environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks linked to the livestock sector. The Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index builds on this work by analysing major protein producers on their management and disclosure of nine of the most critical risk factors facing the industry. As some of the largest publicly listed meat, dairy and aquaculture producers, most institutional investors are exposed to these companies through their equity and fixed income portfolios. The aim of this pilot Index is to provide the investment community with a tool that enables them to better understand the ESG risks facing these global listed assets, and to more easily integrate these into their investment decision making process and active shareholder engagement.
The Index also aims to provide valuable information to the market on best practice in the management of these key ESG risks. We hope this encourages companies to establish the policies and processes required to improve oversight and performance across each issue.
The externalities and impacts associated with intensive livestock production systems are incompatible with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).