The largest meat and dairy producers could surpass major oil companies as the largest contributors to environmental pollution.
That’s according to a new report from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and non-profit GRAIN, which says the five largest meat and dairy corporations are already responsible for more annual greenhouse gas emissions than energy giants ExxonMobil, Shell or BP.
Only four of the top 35 meat and dairy companies provide comprehensive emissions estimates – the report shows the rest either do not disclose emissions or exclude their supply chain’s carbon footprint, which in some cases accounts for up to 90% of greenhouse gases created.
It claims if the growth of the global meat and dairy industry continues as projected, the livestock sector could consume four-fifths of the global greenhouse gas budget each year by 2050.
The US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, China and the EU nations are responsible for more than 60% of the sector’s emissions, roughly twice the rest of the world on a per capita basis.
Devlin Kuyek, Researcher at GRAIN, said: “There’s no other choice. Meat and dairy production in the countries where the top 35 companies dominate must be significantly reduced.
“These corporations are pushing for trade agreements that will increase exports and emissions and they are undermining real climate solutions like agroecology that benefit farmers, workers and consumers.”