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Brilliant news

Brilliant news and about time too.

Before you judge me, read right to the end of this Blog.

So, the men in the white coats have moved on from test tube babies to ‘test tube’ burgers.  Juicy ‘semi-faux meat’ burgers without the animal welfare concerns?  It might even taste good to some people, but is it the future?

My interest in this idea has nothing to do with eating ‘ethical’ animals and more to do with the comments that have been made around the drivers to develop this food source.  According to the scientist, and this is critical, they do not believe that the current meat production systems are sustainable – at last, the terrible environmental impacts of intensive meat production are coming out into the open.  If the first commercially ‘grown’ burger will cost £200,000, it demonstrates how big the meat industry is and how much money it is worth spending to find a more environmentally sensitive alternative to the current system.  It may not be the current meat businesses who are keen on making the change, but for the planet’s sake this work is critical.  As long as people want to eat meat there will be negative environmental consequences.

Turning the issue now to investments circles, this very open omission that the intensive food industry is unsustainable raises some very big questions about the environmental claims of far too many investment managers.  The next time you see an investment company or Superfund/pension company offering a ‘sustainable’ investment option, I bet you that their investment strategy does not take meat production into account.  I am not saying this applies to highly specialised, focused environmental tech funds.  What I am talking about is all those investment institutions who offer a normal investment fund with a ‘bit of a nod to sustainability’.  Picking a portfolio of shares in companies who are still operating in the same old way in the same old industries isn’t really addressing the sustainability agenda.  And, if the meat scientists are to be believed, if there are any investments in companies directly or indirectly involved in intensive farming then any sustainability credentials are immediately lost.

There is no point offering a ‘sustainable’ investment option which is far more about getting money in from the public than it is about addressing the world’s environmental problems.  I fear that all too often marketing departments put far more effort into talking the talk than investment managers do in picking sustainable companies and walking the walk.

When, oh when, will global intensive meat production get onto the sustainability agenda so we can really make a difference to the future of our planet?  Over to you Fund Managers – let’s get serious about sustainability.

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