Investor group confronts food brands over disclosures

FAIRR is challenging 25 food retailers on the quality of their sustainability reporting


A $20 trillion investor group is set to confront the world’s top food retailers and fast food brands about their sustainability disclosures and climate change targets.

Global investor group FAIRR, which fights to address ESG issues in protein supply chains, is stepping up its engagement with 25 leading food retailers, including Walmart, Tesco, Costco and Kraft Heinz, as part of its sustainable protein engagement initiative.

The initiative, originally launched in 2016, encourages the world’s largest food companies to develop an evidence-based approach to diversify protein sources away from an over-reliance on animal proteins.

Moving into phase four of the engagement, FAIRR will, for the first time, urge the 25 firms to publicly disclose information on their intention to transition protein portfolios towards lower impact and more sustainable sources such as plant-based proteins. 

This next phase of lobbying is open to new investors, with the deadline to join set at 24 January 2020.

A spokesperson for FAIRR said it’s aiming to increase investor support by over 20%. 

The third phase of the engagement, launched in 2018, was supported by 74 major investors including NN Investment Partners, representing over $5.3 trillion in combined assets, according to FAIRR.

“Global investors are showing greater interest in alternative proteins, such as plant-based substitutes and lab-grown meat, as the climate impact of agriculture and food production comes under the spotlight.

“This shareholder engagement is at the heart of that development, and is critical to driving companies to adopt protein portfolios in line with climate science,” FAIRR stated.

The group is also expanding its engagement with six of the world’s biggest fast food companies, including McDonalds, Burger King and KFC, with the aim of setting tougher targets to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and water usage of their meat and dairy suppliers.

New investors are being invited to join phase two of the lobbying, which will include putting specific questions to the companies and confronting them about their adoption of science-based climate and water targets. 

The deadline to join is 10 January 2020.

Launched in January this year, the first phase – which was supported by 80 investors with over $6.5 trillion in combined assets – urged the fast food brands to de-risk their meat and dairy supply chains by taking a number of steps including undertaking climate risk scenario analysis and developing strong supplier policies on climate and water.


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