Meat and dairy groups threaten to stop contributing to international summit on food sustainability after critical voices invited
Livestock groups have been lobbying the UN to support more meat and dairy production before a high-profile summit on food sustainability, documents reveal.
Most experts agree that livestock are responsible for at least 14% of global emissions, while a study published last week found the use of animals for meat causes twice the planet-heating gases that plant-based foods do.
The UN Food Systems Summit (UN FSS), taking place this week in New York, aims to make global agricultural systems more sustainable, billing itself as a transformational “people’s summit”.
But documents obtained by Greenpeace Unearthed – the investigative arm of environmental NGO Greenpeace – and seen by the Guardian, show livestock industry bodies threatening to withdraw if others in their discussion group at the summit do not share their “common goal”.
In the months leading up to the summit, discussion groups – known as clusters – worked to produce position papers offering sustainable food system solutions.
In one draft paper, dated 15 June, members of the “sustainable livestock” cluster stated that “advances in intensive livestock systems” mean they can “contribute to the preservation of planetary resources and effective delivery of nutrition”.
Environmental and other experts have advised however that lower levels of animal protein production and consumption are critical to reducing climate breakdown and protecting the environment.