A new report shows that Asian meat companies have often failed to comply with ESG standards. Asia is home to a high number of international meat companies.

Analysts have warned investors that the lack of compliance to environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks amongst publicly listed meat companies in Asia makes them highly susceptible to zoonotic diseases. The report also lists meat companies as high-risk because they are likely to foster future pandemics.

Commissioned by the global collaborative investor network FAIRR, the new report, titled An Industry Infected, states that three-quarters of the world’s 60 biggest meat, fish and dairy companies are rated high-risk for failure to comply with ESG disclosures, making them vulnerable to becoming both hotbeds of viral outbreaks and sources of new emerging zoonotic diseases. Of the 44 meat firms within the high-risk category, almost two-thirds are located in Asia, the report finds.  “Asia-based companies tend to lag behind with respect to public disclosure and transparency,” said the report’s authors.

These findings come as the current coronavirus pandemic continues to upend the global economy and has exposed the vulnerabilities and dangers of our food supply chains, particularly in the meat industry, where slaughterhouses across the world have recorded major outbreaks of Covid-19.

The animal protein companies in the report were measured according to six main criteria relevant to preventing future disease outbreaks.These benchmarks include worker safety, food safety, animal welfare, biodiversity management, deforestation, and antibiotic stewardship.

“Our results show that across all seven ESG risk and opportunity factors, companies are doing far too little to measure and manage pandemic risk,” stated the report. “And significantly, none of the companies considered are low risk.”

Most recently, the United Nations FAO highlighted the demand for animal protein and intensive animal agriculture as key drivers of emerging zoonotic diseases.

Previous and ongoing research has time and again found that the conditions common in meat plants, slaughterhouses and factory farms – poor safety protocols, overuse of antibiotics, confinement of animals in close quarters – are linked to encouraging the transmission of viruses from animals to humans. Most recently, the United Nations FAO highlighted the demand for animal protein and intensive animal agriculture as key drivers of emerging zoonotic diseases.

Original source: https://www.greenqueen.com

 

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