Development banks on every continent are directly undermining the UN SDGs and Paris goals by channeling billions of public dollars into multinational meat corporations.
KARI HAMERSCHLAG: As the climate crisis boils over, new research shows that reducing methane emissions is our best hope to rapidly stem the crisis. It’s time to turn up the heat on the industrial meat industry and dramatically curtail its climate harm, which includes 32% of global methane emissions. Yet instead development banks are using public funds to expand this sector that generates 16.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
On 19 and 20 October, hundreds of public development banks (PDBs) will gather for the second Finance in Common Summit to make pledges to advance Paris climate and UN sustainable development goals (SDGs). The summit – which will also focus on agriculture and agribusiness transformation – presents a vital opportunity for these banks to put their money where their mouth is and align their agriculture investments to meet these goals.
Development banks on every continent are directly undermining the UN SDGs and Paris goals by channeling billions of public dollars into multinational meat corporations. While undermining the livelihoods of small-scale producers, this heavily polluting industrial meat system is fueling the climate crisis, destroying precious ecosystems, promoting animal cruelty and increasing the risk of antibiotic resistance and future pandemics.
With vast documented evidence of factory farming’s destructive effects, a new global campaign, Divest Factory Farming, is calling on PDBs to immediately stop financing industrial livestock operations and shift their investments towards a more equitable and sustainable food system.
A 2020 investigation by the Guardian and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed that over the past decade, just two banks – the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) – “have provided $2.6bn for pig, poultry and beef farming, as well as dairy and meat processing”. Additional research shows that the top five development banks have spent more than $4.6bn in this sector over the past 10 years.
Disturbingly, this trend continues unabated… In recent years, the Inter-American Development Bank’s private sector arm, IDB Invest (which also backs Pronaca), increased its investments in industrial livestock companies more than twentyfold in the Latin America and Caribbean region, from approximately $15m between 2011 and 2017 to around $500m from 2018 to present.
Stunningly, IDB is now considering a new $43m loan for Marfrig Global Foods, the world’s second largest beef company, under the guise of promoting “sustainable beef”. Numerous reports have linked Marfrig’s operations to illegal deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado…
Ultimately, these PDB investments entrench a destructive industrial food system that worsens our climate crisis. These investments mirror the misguided spending of governments worldwide. A recent UN report found that nearly 90% of the $540bn in global agricultural subsidies each year are “harmful”, with the largest subsidies going to industrial beef and milk production…
Experts project that livestock production alone could account for a whopping 80% of the world’s budget for greenhouse gas emissions (in a 1.5C temperature increase scenario) by 2050. If cattle were a nation, they would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. With less than 10 years to prevent irreversible climate catastrophe, every investment and policy must help greatly reduce emissions while bolstering food security and resiliency to weather upheavals.
By ending investments in factory farms, public development bank leaders will send a clear signal to other public finance institutions, the private sector, markets and governments that it’s time for meaningful emissions reductions from livestock, and time to shift subsidies and investments toward highly productive, lower-carbon ecological farming. There is no time to waste. SOURCE…