Responsible Investment News

Capitalism, Red in Tooth and Claw, Is Going Vegan

The Economist dubbed 2019 “The Year of the Vegan” in its edition detailing world trends for this year. “Where millennials lead, business and governments will follow,” the magazine said. And just as the youth-driven movement to save the planet has pushed environmental, social and governance concerns to the top of the finance industry’s agenda, asset managers are about to start feeling the heat about the food industry’s contribution to climate change.

Veganism in Vogue

Worldwide searches for the term "veganism" have climbed in the past five years.

Veganism is an idea whose time has come, partly due to individual lifestyle and health concerns but mostly because of the environmental damage caused by animal agriculture. Ruminant animals including cattle produce methane which contributes to global warming, while growing feedcrops for livestock leads to deforestation.

The number of Americans identifying as vegan climbed sixfold in the three years to 2017, with 6% saying they shun animal-derived foodstuffs, according to research firm GlobalData. In January, Caroline Lucas, the U.K. Green Party’s only Member of Parliament, called for a tax on meat to help the farming industry reduce its carbon emissions.

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