FAIRR, an initiative founded by British Philanthropist Jeremy Coller, is pushing large businesses to move towards plant based alternatives to meat and dairy. The group has been created amid fears that by 2050 we will have problems feeding the western world should we continue to invest in meat-heavy lifestyles.
The group’s seventy-one members have a combined worth of $1.9 trillion and make up a large portion of the investors of the same businesses they are pressuring, including McDonald’s, Dominos and Tesco. In 2016 the group wrote a letter to a selection of retailers detailing the importance of plant-based food alternatives in a world where the population is ever-growing.
By 2050 it’s predicted that the world population will have grown by over two billion people to 9.7 billion, that’s nearly a 30% increase from today. Already 30% of the world’s entire land mass is used to rear farm animals, and meat consumption continues to grow globally.
The problem lies in the fact that accommodating a meat eating diet requires a much greater land mass than a plant based diet would. Currently, approximately 2.75 billion hectares is dedicated to rearing animals for consumption (70% of the nearly 4 billion hectares used as agricultural land), even without the rise in meat consumption we would require over 3.5 billion hectares for that same purpose by 2050. However, if the world were to switch to a plant based diet the agricultural land mass required could be reduced to between 0.6 billion – 1.2 billion hectares even with a 30% growth in world population.
Coller, himself a vegetarian since the age of 11, has been able to recruit many members of the group with the simple incentive of money. Aside from the gruesome realities of the treatment of agricultural animals, the devastating environmental impact of the industry, and the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle, the need for less animal derived products is simple maths. It seems that the meat and dairy alternatives industries will have to grow in order to accommodate the increase in world population.
Thankfully, it appears that the group is already having an impact on the industry.
In 2016, FAIRR praised Tesco for their already large range of meat and dairy alternatives but felt that the company could go further. Following this, just last month Tesco announced the introduction of Bute Island ‘cheeses’ to their free from range. Similarly McDonalds, a chain regularly bashed for their contribution to the destruction of the amazon rainforest and responsible for the slaughter of 9000 cows weekly in the UK alone, have recently introduced a vegan friendly burger to Norway. Moreover, with the decline of cow’s milk consumption, the forecast for the the dairy alternatives industry is positive through to 2020.
Although the group may be motivated largely by profit, the existence of such a group can only encourage large retailers, who have a big impact on the world as a whole, to move towards plant based alternatives as quickly as possible. As well as being a potential solution to an impending food crisis this will also have an impact on the lives and wellbeing of animals and humans alike and help the vegan movement reach the masses.