A new report launched today (21st June) by Stop Financing Factory Farming (SFFF), of which we are a member – has called out the major international development banks for calling factory farming ‘climate friendly’ and continuing to fund it.
The report – called Climate Misalignment: How Industrial Livestock Investments Are At Odds With Development Bank Commitments to Align Their Strategies With the Paris Climate Agreement – calls on multilateral development banks to shift finance away from factory farming towards healthier, more humane and sustainable food production.
These multilateral development banks – which are international financial institutions owned by governments to encourage economic development – have committed to aligning their investments with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. They include the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. This is a global agreement which aims to limit the increase in global temperatures, including by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from the livestock sector.
However, investments in animal agriculture, such as industrial pig and poultry farming, are still regarded as ‘Paris-aligned’ by these banks, even though they produce significant emissions and contribute to deforestation.
The Stop Financing Factory Farming campaign
Stop Financing Factory Farming, which also includes Friends of the Earth, Feedback Global and World Animal Protection, works in partnership with locally affected communities and organisations to shift development finance away from factory farming towards healthier, more humane and sustainable food production.
The United Nations Environment Program and other climate experts say that absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production are necessary to limit global warming to 1.5°C or “well below” 2°C.
Despite this urgency, the multilateral development banks continue to invest in the global expansion of factory farming. They have also increased their investments in animal feed production such as the growing of soy which leads to deforestation in South America.
Meat reduction necessary to meet climate targets
The science is clear – to stay on track with GHG reduction targets, global production and consumption of meat and other animal-sourced foods must be reduced.
A study published in the journal Science in 2020 warns that even if fossil fuel emissions were immediately halted, current trends in global food systems would make it impossible to limit global warming to 1.5°C and could threaten the achievement of the "well below" 2°C target.
Peter Stevenson, our Chief Policy Advisor and contributor of the report, said: “With just over six years remaining to avert the most devastating impacts of climate change we urge the leading multilateral development banks to recognize the urgent need to shrink the global industrial livestock sector instead of expanding it.
“These institutions possess the power to transform the global food system into a sustainable one that effectively addresses global food security. But at present they are using their huge financial resources to promote the spread of factory farming in the Global South despite the immense harm this does in undermining small-scale farmers and food security and in boosting GHG emissions.”
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