Member AUM
$70 trillion
Report Background

Waste and Pollution: Addressing Biodiversity Risks From the Use of Animal Waste as Fertiliser

Phase 2 Engagement Progress Report

Report Overview

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. Pollution has been identified as a key driver of biodiversity loss by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), while also being tightly interlinked with climate change, and water scarcity and quality. A key driver of this has been shown to be the nutrient runoff from the use of fertilisers, including the excessive or inappropriate use of manure as fertiliser in areas of concentrated livestock production. 

Nutrient-rich compost from livestock manure and other organic waste is a valuable complement to chemical fertilisers, given the addition of such organic materials can help build soil organic matter, contribute to soil health and structure. However, the intensification of meat and dairy production combined with poor management of manure and animal waste is a key driver of nutrient loss to the environment, a planetary boundary already vastly exceeded. 

Beyond being a driver of biodiversity loss, the physical risks of polluted and eutrophic freshwater and marine ecosystems are often borne by government entities and marine industries such as aquaculture, although meat and dairy companies face various transition risks. Companies can face unexpected loss of revenue or increased costs and capital investment when local communities oppose farm expansion or, in some cases, litigate to gain compensation for water and air pollution.  

Yet, opportunities could continue to arise from better utilising the nutrients that are already in circulation and supporting meat and dairy producers in mitigating these risks.  

This short report focuses on the progress made by companies in the second phase of this engagement, as well as areas where there remain significant gaps with leading practices. 

Report Highlights

The findings of this report offer FAIRR investor members: 

  • Financial materiality examples of waste and pollution for animal protein producers and agrochemical companies

  • Discussion of the four pillars of FAIRR’s assessment and key takeaways from dialogues

  • Progress made by companies in each pillar

  • Best practice examples

  • Discussion of the role of agrochemical companies in nutrient circularity