Development banks must codify strict criteria for financing Big Livestock

Divya Narain | One Earth Volume 6, Issue 10 | 2023 | Communication |


With its whopping greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, enormous deforestation footprint, and massive waste lagoons (some visible even from space!), industrial animal agriculture is often dubbed the new fossil fuel. Dominated by a handful of mega-corporations, the livestock industry is already a major driver of the climate crisis.1 Given its projected growth, the industry is likely, by 2030, to use up 49% of the allowable budget for a relatively safe 1.5°C temperature rise.2 Yet, the climate commitments of big meat and dairy companies are little more than a cop-out. Their emissions reporting is inadequate at best, and fraught with greenwashing at worst. Despite this, between 2015 and 2020, 2,500 financial institutions ranging from high-street banks to pension funds and asset managers to universities shelled out over $478 billion USD to back meat and dairy operations globally.3 With stricter climate regulations on the horizon, these loans and investments run the risk of turning into “stranded assets,” suffering write-downs or devaluations.