Press release – New report reveals global financiers have channelled over half a trillion dollars to polluting meat and dairy companies since landmark Paris Climate Agreement

PRESS RELEASE – For immediate release 18th March 2024

Key points:

  • Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, banks and private finance have channelled over half a trillion dollars ($615.0 billion) to the world’s largest 55 industrial livestock companies, which are among the food system’s biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The biggest creditors were Bank of America (£28.8 billion), Barclays ($28.2 billion) and JPMorgan Chase ($26.7 billion).
  • Between 2019-22, there was an overall 15% increase in credit to the 55 big livestock companies compared to 2015-18.
  • The report calls for banks and investors to stop all financing to industrial livestock corporations.

A new report ‘Still Butchering the Planet’, released today by environmental organisation Feedback, finds that since the Paris Climate Agreement was signed, over half a trillion dollars in credit have been provided globally to the world’s largest 55 industrial livestock companies – $615.0 billion between 2015-22.

This is equivalent to $76.9 billion per year between 2015-22 provided by some of the world’s largest private financial institutions – which is fuelling the unsustainable expansion of global meat and dairy production, one the biggest drivers of man-made climate change.

In the four years between 2019-22, there was an overall 15% increase in finance to the 55 big livestock companies compared to 2015-18. 9% more meat was produced globally in 2021 compared to 2015 – and fives times more than in 1961[1].

Feedback’s analysis reveals that the biggest creditors to the top 55 big livestock companies were Bank of America (£28.8 billion), Barclays ($28.2 billion) and JPMorgan Chase ($26.7 billion).

Just five of the 55 companies – JBS, Marfrig, Cargill, Tyson Foods, and Minerva – combined cause an estimated 595 million tonnes CO2-equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions per year[2], more than the total emissions of the UK and Ireland[3]. Between 2015-22, the report finds that Barclays was the largest global creditor to JBS, Morgan Stanley was the largest global creditor to Tyson Foods, and BNP Paribas was the largest global creditor to Cargill.

The report highlights that the global livestock sector causes an estimated $8.5 trillion annually in externalised health and climate costs[4] – as well as driving climate change, deforestation, pollution, human rights violations, pandemic risks and animal welfare abuses. The report calls for banks and investors to stop all new financing to industrial livestock corporations. It also calls for policymakers to regulate the finance industry to stop it financing polluting companies, and to reform subsidies as part of a just transition to lower meat production and consumption.

A March 2024 study which surveyed over two hundred climate scientists and agriculture experts (over half of whom have authored IPCC reports), found that global livestock emissions need to peak by 2025 and decline by 50% by 2030 and 61% by 2036, in order to limit global warming in line with the Paris Agreement – with faster and deeper reductions in higher-income countries[5].


Martin Bowman, senior policy and campaigns manager at Feedback, said:

“Over half a trillion dollars have been pumped into these 55 industrial livestock companies since the Paris Agreement – fuelling their expansion – despite the science being clear that to avert climate crisis, we urgently need a just transition to lower production and consumption of meat and dairy, particularly in higher-income countries. Alarmingly, our analysis shows that funding to these polluting companies is on the rise, despite scientists warning us that global livestock emissions need to peak by 2025 and decline by 61% by 2036. Industrial livestock companies are incompatible with a safe future for our planet, so it’s time for banks and investors to turn off the taps and stop providing the finance that is enabling them to grow. We also need governments to shift public funding like subsidies away from industrial livestock companies and regulate banks to stop them funding polluting industries – without this, most banks will keep prioritising profits over people and planet.”

“Banks and investors claim that by maintaining finance to polluting companies they can engage with them to improve their practices – this is delusion, or greenwash, or both. Instead, our report finds that no industrial livestock companies are planning to significantly reduce the scale of their livestock production, and most are actively planning expansion and lobbying against government policies designed to reduce meat and dairy consumption.”



Full report accessible here – please if possible link to report in coverage:

Further quotes available on request

CONTACT: Martin Bowman         Phone: +44(0)7816088210          Email:



Methodology for main findings:

Feedback collaborated with Greenpeace to commission the not-for-profit research firm Profundo to map the financial backers of industrial livestock companies. The financial research utilised Refinitiv, Bloomberg, IJGlobal, Trade Finance Analytics, company publications, company registers and media archives to identify financial relationships. Feedback defines “industrial livestock” companies as the world’s largest mass-producers (and/or processors) of meat, dairy, eggs and animal feed at an unsustainable industrial scale. For more info, see Annexes to the report.

Further report findings:

The report also finds that as of March 2023, a total of $287.8 billion in shareholdings and $35.5 billion in bondholdings were held by financial institutions in the world’s largest 55 big livestock companies. The biggest investors in the 55 companies were BlackRock ($37.8 billion), Vanguard ($24.4 billion) and Capital Group ($21.4 billion).

Between 2015-22, the biggest global underwriter of bond issuances to the 55 big livestock companies was HSBC ($11.6 billion), the biggest provider of corporate loans was Rabobank ($5.7 billion), the biggest provider of revolving credit facilities was Bank of America ($15.7 billion), and the biggest underwriter of share issuances was China Merchants Bank ($4.4 billion).

Between 2015-22, HSBC was the world’s second largest creditor to Minerva and the fourth largest creditor to Marfrig, two of South America’s largest beef companies, which have been frequently faced allegations of deforestation linked to their supply chains[6]. It is unclear how this is compatible with HSBC’s claims in its Agricultural Commodities Policy that it will “not knowingly provide financial services to high-risk customers involved directly in or sourcing from suppliers involved in deforestation”, including those involved in “cattle ranching”[7].

The $76.9 billion per year between 2015-22 provided by the world’s private financial institutions to the largest 55 livestock companies is greater than the real value of climate finance provided by governments in the Global North to the Global South in 2020 was only $21–24.5 billion[8].

Several large financial institutions already have policies of excluding big livestock companies – such as De Volksbank, the fourth largest banking group in the Netherlands which manages €37 billion in savings, which has a policy of avoiding investments in livestock farming because it involves problems in the areas of food security, climate change, biodiversity, health and human rights[9]. Australian Ethical, which has US$5.4 billion in funds under management, has a policy of not investing in large-scale commercial animal agriculture[10].

Feedback estimates that the 55 big livestock companies covered in the report represent approximately one-fifth of global cattle, pig and chicken slaughter. This is a very rough estimate due to limited and inconsistent public disclosure of slaughter numbers by livestock companies.

Environmental and social impacts of livestock industry:

Livestock contribute to climate change through enteric fermentation (burps and farts from ruminant livestock), land use change (like deforestation), feed production, manure, and processing and transport.  Livestock is already responsible for about 16.5% of the total anthropogenic (human-caused) emissions globally[11]. The global meat and dairy industry is projected to use up almost half of the world’s 1.5°C emissions budget by 2030[12]. Prof Hans Pörtner, scientist and co-chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has said: “Without reducing and cutting down on meat consumption and the associated high-intensity agriculture systems, we will not be able to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees”[13].

The production of animal protein and feed uses 83% of the world’s farmland, making it one of the biggest drivers of deforestation and biodiversity loss, despite providing only 37% of global protein and 18% of our calories[14]. An estimated 48% of global tropical deforestation is caused by expanding pastures for cattle production and for soya production, primarily for animal feed[15]. Nearly one-quarter of current global pastureland was converted from formerly native forest[16] – meaning there is considerable potential for reforestation on current pastureland.

Industrial livestock has numerous other social impacts. In many countries, over 50% of antibiotics are used on livestock[17], whilst antibiotic-resistant superbugs are currently responsible for 700,000 deaths a year[18]. Fine particulate matter from food production causes an estimated 15,900 deaths per year in the US, 80% of which were attributed to livestock production[19]. Cattle farming is the main driver of illegal land seizures that violate human rights in Reserves and Indigenous territories in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest[20]. In the United States, a worker in the meat industry lost a body part or was sent to hospital for in-patient treatment about every other day between 2015 and 2018 – higher injury rates than occur in sawmills, industrial building construction, and oil and gas well drilling[21].

Evidence that big livestock companies show no sign of being reformable:

The report argues that industrial livestock companies are hardwired to pursue growth in the unsustainable mass-production of meat and dairy to protect the profits of their core business, and therefore engagement with these companies is not a viable strategy.  For instance, the proportion of company revenue that comes from animal protein is 91% of JBS[22], 95% for Tyson Foods[23], 99% for Marfrig[24], and 100% for Minverva[25]. None of the big livestock companies covered currently have plans to significantly reduce their meat production or processing – instead, many plan significant growth. For instance, in 2023 JBS said that it is planning for a 70% increase in global animal protein consumption by 2050[26]. Many of the companies have lobbied fiercely against dietary shifts, and have instead focused on incremental reforms to livestock practices, like feed additives, soil carbon sequestration and biogas production, which offer limited emissions mitigation potential.

More info on Feedback:

Feedback is a UK- and Netherlands-based environmental campaign group working for food that is food for the planet and its people. For more info, see:



[1] Our World in Data, “Global Meat Production by Livestock Type” (Our World in Data, 2023)

[2] IATP and Changing Markets Foundation, ‘Emissions Impossible: Methane Edition’ (The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and the Changing Markets Foundation, 15 November 2022),; GRAIN and IATP, ‘Emissions Impossible: How Big Meat and Dairy Are Heating up the Planet’ (GRAIN and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, 2018), We have used GWP100 for these calculations. The figures for JBS, Tyson and Marfrig are 2021 figures from Emissions Impossible: Methane edition, whereas the figures for Cargill and Minerva are 2016 figures based on the original Emissions Impossible report, due to lack of available 2021 data for these companies – the emissions of Cargill and Minerva are likely to have increased since 2016, so our estimated total emissions are conservative.

[3] Hannah Ritchie, Max Roser, and Pablo Rosado, ‘Greenhouse Gas Emissions’, Our World in Data, 2022,

[4] 61% of the total US$14.0 trillion of externalities linked to the whole food system is attributed to meat, dairy, eggs and animal fat. Source: Elysia Lucas, Miao Guo, and Gonzalo Guillén-Gosálbez, “Low-Carbon Diets Can Reduce Global Ecological and Health Costs,” Nature Food 4, no. 5 (May 2023): 394–406,

[5] Helen Harwatt et al., “Options for a Paris-Compliant Livestock Sector: Timeframes, Targets and Trajectories for Livestock Sector Emissions from a Survey of Climate Scientists” (Harvard Law School Animal Law and Policy Program, March 2024),

[6] Mighty Earth, “Soy and Cattle Deforestation Tracker,” Mighty Earth (blog), 2021,

[7] HSBC, Agricultural Commodities PolicyHSBC.Com, 2020,

[8] Bertram Zagema et al., “Climate Finance Shadow Report 2023: Assessing the Delivery of the $100 Billion Commitment” (Oxford: Oxfam International, June 2023),

[9] Sustainability Expertise Centre, “GUIDE – SUSTAINABILITY CRITERIA” (de Volksbank Sustainability Expertise Centre, May 2020),

[10] Australian Ethical, “Socially Responsible Investing – Our Positions,” Australian Ethical, 2021,

[11] Richard Twine, “Emissions from Animal Agriculture—16.5% Is the New Minimum Figure,” Sustainability 13, no. 11 (January 2021): 6276,

[12] Harwatt, H. (2019) ‘Including animal to plant protein shifts in climate change mitigation policy: a proposed three-step strategy’, Climate Policy. Taylor & Francis, 19(5), pp. 533–541. doi: 10.1080/14693062.2018.1528965.

[13] Elena Sánchez Nicolás and Carolin Sprick, “Dismay over EU Plans to Keep Paying to Promote Meat,” EUobserver, May 29, 2022,

[14] Poore, J. and Nemecek, T. (2018) ‘Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers’, Science, 360(6392), pp. 987–992. doi: 10.1126/science.aaq0216.

[15] Florence Pendrill et al., “Deforestation Displaced: Trade in Forest-Risk Commodities and the Prospects for a Global Forest Transition,” Environmental Research Letters 14, no. 5 (May 2019): 055003,

[16] Matthew N. Hayek et al., “The Carbon Opportunity Cost of Animal-Sourced Food Production on Land,” Nature Sustainability 4, no. 1 (January 2021): 21–24, Supplementary Table 3.

[17] Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, “Antimicrobials in Agriculture and the Environment – Reducing Unnecessary Use and Waste” (Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, 2015), 5,

[18] Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, “AMR Review Paper – Tackling a Crisis for the Health and Wealth of Nations” (Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, 2014),

[19] Nina G. G. Domingo et al., “Air Quality–Related Health Damages of Food,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118, no. 20 (May 18, 2021),

[20] Amnesty International, “What Is Driving Rampant Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon Region, Putting Vital Forests and Indigenous Peoples at Risk?,” Amnesty International, November 26, 2019,

[21] Human Rights Watch, “‘When We’re Dead and Buried, Our Bones Will Keep Hurting’: Workers’ Rights Under Threat in US Meat and Poultry Plants” (Human Rights Watch, September 4, 2019),

[22] FAIRR, “Company Information – JBS S.A.,” FAIRR, 2022,

[23] FAIRR, “Company Information – Tyson Foods Inc,” FAIRR, 2022,

[24] FAIRR, “Marfrig Global Foods SA – Company Information,” FAIRR, 2023,

[25] FAIRR, “Company Information – Minerva SA,” FAIRR, 2023,

[26] JBS, “2Q23 Institutional Presentation,” accessed August 29, 2023,