COP26 agricultural investment must change how meat is made

6 November 2021

GFI Europe calls on governments to direct at least 10% of the agricultural innovation funding announced at COP26 today towards changing meat production.

GFI COP26 billboard

Governments must direct at least 10% of the agricultural innovation funding announced at COP26 today towards changing meat production, according to food sustainability NGO the Good Food Institute Europe (GFI Europe).

Sophie Armour, spokesperson for the Good Food Institute Europe, said: “Farming animals causes 21% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The science is clear that it’s impossible to meet the Paris Agreement without reducing animal agriculture.

“Governments don’t want to tell people what to eat – so it’s crucial that they invest at least 10% of the funding announced today in changing how meat is made.

“Plant-based and cultivated meat could halve methane emissions and free up an area of land larger than the Amazon rainforest – making them the most impactful agricultural innovation. With public investment, they can meet rising demand for meat without accelerating the climate crisis.”

Cultivated meat is identical to the beef, pork, chicken and seafood people eat today, but grown directly from cells, rather than farming animals.

A report released on Monday 1 November by Vivid Economics, which was backed by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, found that diversifying the world’s protein supply could cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 5Gt per year.

The study demonstrated that, if governments invest $10 billion per year into protein diversification, these industries could add $1 trillion to the global economy and create almost 10 million jobs.

GFI’s COP26 billboards

GFI COP26 billboard in Glasgow

GFI Europe has posted billboards across Glasgow highlighting the importance of plant-based and cultivated meat to COP26 delegates.

The billboards feature an image of a cultivated beef burger alongside the message: “Serious about 1.5°C? Change meat.”

Representatives of GFI Europe are at the summit, calling for governments to invest in sustainable proteins, which can cut emissions by up to 92% and free up land use by up to 95%, compared with conventional animal agriculture.

To find out more about what GFI Europe is asking for at COP26, read our latest blog.