A coalition of global investors has set fast food companies targets to cut emissions amid criticism of the animal agriculture industry as one of the highest emitting industries.
In a letter sent by the coalition of 80 investors, restaurants including McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC have been set tough targets to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and water usage of their suppliers.
The global investors, representing more than $6.5tn, have asked to see more leadership from the companies, who collectively run over 120,000 restaurants worldwide, to reduce the mounting climate and water risks linked to meat and dairy supply chains.
In the letter the coalition advised the firms to implement ambitious targets to help reduce their impact on the climate, including publishing time-bound targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and impact on freshwater within their supply chains and committing to publicly disclose progress on these targets annually.
The companies have been asked to explain by March 2019 how they plan to “enact meaningful policies and targets to de-risk their meat and dairy supply chains” in the letter, facilitated by the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) initiative and sustainability organisation Ceres.
Jeremy Coller, founder of FAIRR and chief investment officer of Coller Capital, said: “The inconvenient truth of convenience food is that the environmental impacts of the sector’s meat and dairy products have hit unsustainable levels. To put this in perspective, if cows were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.”
He added that while other high-emitting industries such as cars, oil and gas are setting ambitious climate targets, animal agriculture is left behind as one of the highest emitting industries, with no low-carbon plan.
Heike Cosse, engagement manager at Aegon Asset Management, said: “If we are to meet the global climate ambitions set by the Paris Agreement, and ensure the availability and sustainable management of global water resources, then global fast food brands need to take concrete action to manage supply-chain emissions and water impacts.”
Letters were sent to brands including Domino’s Pizza, McDonald’s, Restaurant Brands International (owners of Burger King), Chipotle Mexican Grill, Wendy’s Co and Yum! Brands (owners of KFC and Pizza Hut).