Giving Compass' Take:

• At Eco-Business, Neo Chai Chin highlights gaps in environmental, social, and governance data that wrongly report high health rankings in meat companies lacking in necessary safety criteria.

• In light of the current public health crisis, why is accurate food data so vital for not only worker safety but community safety as well? What can we do to hold meat companies responsible for pristine health standards?

• Learn about how you can support nonprofits aimed at providing relevant, community-oriented data on pandemic prevention efforts.

Three-quarters of the world’s 60 largest meat, fish and dairy companies are at high risk of fostering future pandemics that involve diseases that spread from animals to humans, a new report has found.

The report, by global collaborative investor network FAIRR—established by the philanthropic foundation of British private equity entrepreneur Jeremy Coller—comes as the Covid-19 coronavirus continues to upend the world economy and weaken food supply chains. FAIRR stands for Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return.

According to FAIRR’s pandemic ranking, 44 of the 60 biggest animal protein companies fare poorly on seven criteria that are relevant in preventing future zoonotic pandemics. The criteria include worker safety, food safety, deforestation and biodiversity management, animal welfare and antibiotic stewardship.

What was surprising about FAIRR’s pandemic ranking, however, was the relatively high scores of some companies that have been hammered by the pandemic and slammed for treating their workers like “modern-day slaves”.

Noting the disconnect between some scores and reality, the report said: “Better disclosure across key ESG (environmental, social and governance) metrics has not guaranteed better performance. At times ESG data is simply unsuitable to accurately capture risks materialising in real time.”

FAIRR’s report follows investment bank Goldman Sachs’ proclamation last month that livestock, as a commodity, was “looking as precarious as oil” in 2021. This is due to the time it takes to rear animals and rebuild supply after disruptions such as a shortage of labour due to movement restrictions, Covid-19 outbreaks in meat plants, and logistical challenges.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic did not come from livestock, the next one may,” the FAIRR report noted. Three in four emerging infectious diseases in humans are passed on from animals, and those that have come from livestock include strains of swine flu and avian flu.

Read the full article about meat companies by Neo Chai Chin at Eco-Business.