Member AUM
$70 trillion
6 April 2020

About Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

What are the 17 sustainable development goals?

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a blueprint to achieving a better, more sustainable future for all. They are 17 interconnected goals that provide a model with which to address urgent global challenges such as inequality, poverty and climate change.  

All 17 goals are interconnected with each other: attaining success in one goal will elevate success in other areas. This integrated approach is key; improving education standards will also help to alleviate poverty and gender inequality, just as tackling climate action will aid in creating more sustainable cities and communities. The Sustainable Development Goals lay out what we should be doing collectively and how we should be doing it.  

Why were the sustainable development goals created? 

The UN Sustainable Development Goals were the product of the Sustainable Development conference hosted back in 2012. Recognising that current strategies were all interconnected, the overarching aim of the conference was to create a set of universal goals that address our urgent political, environmental and economic challenges.  

The SDGs replaced the previous millennium development goals (MDGs) set in 2000 to tackle global poverty. The sustainable development goals take these issues further, incorporating issues that transcend across the globe to find more coordinated resolutions to our biggest problems. 

Which sustainable development goals does FAIRR contribute to? 

The Coller FAIRR Index, which assesses risks from the largest global meat, dairy and aquaculture producers, provides a benchmark for investors to make informed decisions on risk in their portfolio. FAIRR aligns each of the nine ‘risk factor’ measurables from the index with at least one Sustainable Development Goal.  

FAIRR contributes to several of the Sustainable Development Goals, including:  

  • SDG2 – Zero Hunger 

  • SDG3 – Good Health and Wellbeing 

  • SDG6 – Clean Water and Sanitation 

  • SDG8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth 

  • SDG12 – Responsible Consumption and Production 

  • SDG13 – Climate Action 

  • SDG14 – Life Below Water 

Sustainable Development Goal 2 

What is SDG2? 

SDG2 aims to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.” FAIRR’s focus on ESG in protein supply chains is critical to achieving the aims of this goal. 

How does SDG2 impact the farming and agriculture industry? 

FAIRR encourages investors and companies to move away from intensive livestock farming towards a more sustainable food system that meets global protein demand with reduced environmental impact. This production model contributes to land degradationwater scarcity and climate change. Animal protein production is relatively inefficient compared to plant protein production as it requires significantly higher energy, water and land inputs, and emits higher GHG emissions. 

In addition, the rate at which animal production converts feed inputs into food is very low. In the US, the conversion efficiency of beef is just 3%, while pork is 9%, poultry is 13% and eggs and dairy are both 17%. Animal protein only represents 20% of the world’s supply of calories, yet 75% of all agricultural land is devoted to raising and feeding animals. 

Sustainable Development Goal 13 

What is sustainable development goal 13? 

SDG13 pledges to “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact”, a call to action across the globe to scale-up efforts on climate. FAIRR has directed extensive research and investor engagement towards addressing climate action and continues to hold companies to account on climate issues. 

How does SGD13 impact farming and livestock sector? 

Climate change is happening with pace and is intrinsically linked to the livestock sector. The amount of greenhouse gases generated from livestock is disproportionate, with the meat sector titled one of the world’s most polluting industries. As a high-emitting industry that relies heavily on natural resources, the future of agriculture will be a huge determinant in the success of tackling climate change. 

FAIRR actively engages with its investor community to mitigate the detrimental impact of climate change, encouraging a shift away from the current highly intensive agriculture model operated by the animal protein sector, towards more sustainable practices. 

FAIRR incorporates SGD13 into a number of engagements with companies to mitigate climate risk. Building Sustainable Protein Supply Chains has been an ambitious ongoing engagement with some of the world’s largest food companies, currently supported by 88 institutional investors that collectively represent over $13.1 trillion in combined assets. The engagement encourages companies to diversify their protein sources, transitioning away from heavy dependence on animal proteins towards less intensive and more sustainable protein options. 

FAIRR’s Global Investor Engagement on Meat Sourcing also calls on companies to de-risk their meat and dairy supply chains and to incorporate climate action into their long-term strategies. Investors engage with some of the food industry’s biggest names to undertake their own climate risk scenario analysis, as well as to set and abide by stricter, science-based emissions targets. 

Recognising the finite resources available and the fragility of the ecosystems being destroyed in supply chains, FAIRR also conducts conservation engagements to help prevent deforestation. As the ‘lungs of the earth’, destroying our rainforests will have catastrophic consequences for the health of our climate. This is why FAIRR supports and engages investors in The Cerrado Manifesto and the Amazon Soy Moratorium, to demand a halt to deforestation and push for more sustainable land management practices. 

What does this mean for investors? 

FAIRR’s research sheds light on how companies are tackling sustainability issues linked to the SDGs. For further information, see the Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index – the world’s primary assessment of meat, dairy and farmed fish producers on material ESG risks.  

The Coller FAIRR Climate Risk Tool also provides an invaluable resource for investors to assess the level of risk and profitability present in the meat industry. The tool operates around the scenario of a 2°C warmer world, analysing a company’s profitability based on whether a company takes a regressive, market neutral or progressive pathway to manage its climate risk.

FAIRR insights are written by FAIRR team members and occasionally co-authored with guest contributors. The authors write in their individual capacity and do not necessarily represent the FAIRR view.