Investing in plant-based alternatives reduces climate emissions more than other green investments


With the market fluctuating like a rollercoaster these days, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly which areas make sense to increase your income in the future. Have you ever thought about investing in plant-based alternatives?

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global consulting firm, has released a report that finds that, for every dollar, investing in plant-based alternatives results in significantly more greenhouse gas (GHG) savings ) than many other investment opportunities. And there’s more good news: shifting the human diet from meat to plants means fewer forests destroyed for pasture and fodder growth and fewer emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas methane produced by cattle and sheep.

BCG interviewed more than 3,700 people in the UK, US, China, France, Germany, Spain and the United Arab Emirates. He revealed that 30% of consumers would switch to alternative protein products if they had a positive impact on the climate. About 90% of people said they liked at least some of the alternative protein products they had tried.

How does improving and scaling up the production of meat and dairy alternatives compare to other green technologies?

  • 3 times more greenhouse gas reductions compared to an investment in green cement technology
  • 7 times more than green buildings
  • 11 times more than zero-emission cars

What does the report say about the growing trend to invest in plant-based alternatives?

  • Investment in alternative proteins has grown from $1 billion in 2019 to $5 billion in 2021.
  • Alternatives represent 2% of meat, eggs and dairy products sold, but data indicates that they will reach 11% in 2035 based on current growth trends.
  • Protein transformation is part of a larger remodeling of the food system. Every stakeholder in the value chain is likely to feel the impact of transformation, and many will find great opportunities in helping to build a sustainable food system.

Why is this trend of investing in plant-based alternatives happening? The overall growth in alternative protein investments is consistent with a broader focus on sustainable investing globally, which is growing 3-5x faster than traditional investing, with a focus on solutions to the climate crisis.

What kinds of emissions does meat and dairy farming produce? Meat and dairy production uses 83% of agricultural land and causes 60% of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, but provides only 18% of calories and 37% of protein.

What are the projections for peak meat consumption? Europe and North America will reach the highest levels of meat consumption by 2025, when conventional meat consumption will begin to decline.

How does the decision to invest in plant-based alternatives affect global decarbonization goals? The most important results relate to the market value of CO2e emissions avoided per dollar invested in mitigation efforts. This is called the impact of capital employed (IoCE). Investments in alternative proteins produce an IoCE of greater magnitude than corresponding decarbonization investments in other high-emission sectors of the economy, such as transport or buildings, can achieve.

What major investments have already taken place in plant-based alternatives?

  • Venture capital invested in alternative proteins has grown at an annual rate of 124%, from $1 billion in 2019 to $5 billion in 2021, according to the Good Food Institute.
  • In 2020, companies participated in around 60% of funding rounds.
  • Investments in companies based on fermentation and animal cells, two newer technologies, are skyrocketing. From 2019 to 2021, the former increased by more than 137%, from $300 million to $1.7 billion, and the latter by more than 425%, from $50 million to $1.4 billion. dollars.

Why do investments in plant-based alternatives have such a big impact on emissions? A big difference exists between the greenhouse gases emitted during the production of conventional meat and dairy products and during the cultivation of plants. Beef, for example, produces 6 to 30 times more emissions than tofu.

What do current forecasting models tell us about the potential for investing in plant-based alternatives?? Models indicate that alternative proteins will account for 11% of all protein consumption by 2035 and, with the help of technology, investors and regulators, alternative proteins could control 22% of the global market during that time. period.

Could investments in plant-based alternatives yield even greater future results? Yes. BCG said meat alternatives could grow much faster with advances in technology that would result in better products, larger-scale production and regulatory changes that make marketing and sales easier.

What will convince consumers to eat more plant-based foods? Consumers in all markets are expressing a strong desire to change their consumption habits further if their biggest inhibitions about products – health and nutrition, taste and safety – are addressed.

What important areas need to be addressed to create the optimal climate for investing in plant-based alternatives? Everyone has a stake in accelerating protein transformation and the broader transition to a sustainable food system. The 5 target areas explored in the BCG report are:

  • Support farmers
  • Ensure fair political and regulatory conditions between conventional and alternative proteins
  • Channel capital to transformative businesses
  • Resource optimization and waste recovery
  • Continue to build consumer acceptance

Final Thoughts on Decisions to Invest in Plant-Based Foods

Scientists have concluded that avoiding meat and dairy products is the best way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet. Big changes in meat consumption in rich countries are key to ending the climate crisis.

The food system accounts for 26% of current GHG emissions. Animal agriculture, the largest GHG emitter in the food system, is responsible for 15% of global emissions, which roughly matches emissions from the transportation sector. If we stay on track for an 11% share for alternative proteins by 2035, we will see a reduction of 0.85 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent globally by 2030.

Along with a decision to invest in plant-based alternatives, you can also get involved in the transition to alternative proteins by campaigning for your city to endorse the Plant Treaty. There are many ways you can help – you can work on a plant-based school campaign, start a community garden, lobby the government, build alliances or help build upward pressure by garnering endorsements from individuals, groups , companies, organizations, scientists and celebrities.

As the founders of the Plant-Based Treaty movement argue, we face existential threats from the climate emergency, unprecedented public health crises, global hunger and biodiversity loss. Our food system is at the heart of all these issues and therefore there must be a rapid transition to a compassionate, healthy and climate-friendly food system.


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