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How Europe’s big meat and dairy are heating up the planet

How Europe’s big meat and dairy are heating up the planet

This report from the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy looks at the emissions of the 20 largest meat and dairy companies based in Europe. These 20 companies combined are responsible for emissions equivalent to 131% of total emissions produced by the Netherlands, according to the report’s estimates. Only four of the companies report their total supply chain emissions, and only three plan to reduce their total supply chain emissions, although 10 have announced climate targets. 

The report argues that large meat and dairy companies are using a number of problematic strategies to “dress up” their climate action plans, including:

  • Co-opting narratives on regenerative and agroecological agriculture
  • Focusing on reducing emissions per kg of product, while continuing to expand production
  • Selling carbon offsets based on impermanent grassland and soil carbon stores
  • Using “unproven” feed additives to reduce methane emissions
  • Making use of government incentives for creating biogas from manure, which the report argues creates a value stream for large-scale agriculture.

Read the full report, Emissions Impossible Europe: How Europe’s Big Meat and Dairy are heating up the planet, here or here (PDF link). See also the TABLE explainer Food systems and greenhouse gas emissions.

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