As global banking giants and investment firms vow to divest from polluting energy companies, they’re continuing to bankroll another major driver of the climate crisis: food and farming corporations that are responsible, directly or indirectly, for cutting down vast carbon-storing forests and spewing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
These agricultural investments, largely unnoticed and unchecked, represent a potentially catastrophic blind spot.
“Animal protein and even dairy is likely, and already has started to become, the new oil and gas,” said Bruno Sarda, the former North America president of CDP, a framework through which companies disclose their carbon emissions. “This is the biggest source of emissions that doesn’t have a target on its back.”
By pouring money into emissions-intensive agriculture, banks and investors are making a dangerous bet on the world’s growing demand for food, especially foods that are the greatest source of emissions in the food system: meat and dairy.