That's a lot of zeros
Commentary by Mike McMorris, LRIC CEO, January 2022
Most Ontario producers will not have heard of FAIRR (Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return). FAIRR is a collaborative investor network based in London, UK with forty-five trillion dollars ($45,000,000,000,000) under management and so their analysis and perspective may carry weight into the future.
Each year FAIRR releases an assessment of the largest meat and dairy producers. They focus on environmental, social and governance issues including methane, deforestation, feed innovation, alternate protein innovation, manure, water use, antibiotics, animal welfare and working conditions.
Taking into account data on many factors, they rate protein businesses using an index. The latest report was released December 1, shortly after COP26, the international climate change meeting held in Glasgow. There was a commitment by many countries at COP26 to a 30% reduction in methane emissions with livestock producers a being clear group responsible to make this happen.
First the good news: Canada’s own Maple Leaf scored in the top three meat and dairy firms analyzed.
The big picture, though, should be cause for worry. Consider these quotes from Jeremy Coller, Chair of FAIRR:
“…failures from methane to manure management underline the growing sense in the market that cows are the new coal.”
I wrote last month about this new “tagline” (cows are the new coal) and that we should be worried that it seems to be catching on.
He also poses the challenge before us:
“We are at an inflexion point and if we are to avoid the meat and dairy sector becoming a stranded asset, we must harness the leadership emerging in parts of the industry and transform the way our food, particularly protein, is produced.”
This may seem far away, but Ontario livestock producers sell to the companies that are being assessed and you can be sure that what they need to report on will eventually make it onto your to do list to record and improve upon.