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Animals, Business & Investment

Neville White Neville White Head of RI Policy & Research
EdenTree Insight reports

Animals, Business & Investment

Neville White


Head of RI Policy & Research
23 Jun 2020

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Foreword

“The financial and ethical cases for investors to account for farm animal welfare in their investment research and decision-making is clear.” Foreword written by Nicky Amos, Executive Director of the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) and Managing Director of Chronos Sustainability, and Dr Rory Sullivan, Expert Advisor to BBFAW and CEO of Chronos Sustainability.

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  Chapter 1

Introduction

Animals are a much used and largely invisible constituent in business. A wide swathe of industries and sectors rely on animals and animal derived products in their manufacturing supply chains. Whilst food is only the most obvious, animals are used in a multiplicity of ways that go farther than perhaps many realise – from leather and down, to the animal fats and musks in cosmetics and the use of animal body parts in traditional medicine, to the use of animal enzymes in medicine and biotechnology.

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  Chapter 2

Animals in the Business Supply Chain

Think of the many ways animals can be used, utilised and managed as part of business supply chains and the reach and extent might surprise you. Few sectors and processes are completely free of some relationship to an animal derived product – and others depend on it. Here is our take on some – but maybe not all – of those ways!

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  Chapter 3

Food & Farm Animal Welfare

The global meat sector was valued at close to $1trillion in 2018, with around 330m tonnes produced. Pork and poultry together are the two most produced meat types by weight globally, with poultry the #1 type of produced meat across the world. Macro demographics have fuelled meat production – urbanisation and the creation of a global middle-class has fuelled protein enriched diets involving more meat and less rice and fewer pulses and vegetables.

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  Chapter 4

Fur, Skin, Leather, Wool & Musk

In many instances these are sourced as a by-product of the meat industry, but in others animals may be bred, farmed or reared specifically for their body parts or fur. The use of animals specifically for these purposes raises challenges for responsible investors. For instance, whilst skins would generally be supported where supplied as a by-product, specific farming would not. EdenTree does not have a stated policy on fur and it is not among our Ethical screens within the Amity range. However, we recognise investment in fur is controversial and best avoided. We take a closer deep dive into this part of the market where animal parts are critical to everyday household products.

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  Chapter 5

Traditional Medicine

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the majority of modern medicine derives from plant and animal sources. This is particularly true of the TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) market, which is globally estimated at $60bn. It is also widely implicated in driving some exotic species to the edge of extinction.

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  Chapter 6

Animal Testing

Animal testing continues to be performed for a variety of regulatory and safety reasons. The term is used to describe any procedure performed on live animals for research purposes into basic biology, chemical reaction or toxicity.

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  Chapter 7

Entertainment & Work

Animals continue to be used for work particularly in rural and agricultural economies. These include horses, oxen and cattle as well as more iconic species such as camel and elephant.

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  Chapter 8

Growing Demand for Alternatives

This Insight has focused on several areas where animals are strongly impacted – in food, testing and the use of animal derived products such as leather and wool. Given acute recognition of some of the welfare implications, there is growing interest in alternatives to remove suffering and ill-treatment.

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  Chapter 9

Business Serving Animals

The first part of this Insight looked at how animals are used and sometimes exploited by business for human gain. However, businesses that serve animals provide a vibrant and diverse opportunity for investment and particularly in the companion animal space. Here we look at some of the possibilities and areas where EdenTree already has an exposure.

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  Chapter 10

Afterword: Impact on Biodiversity

This Insight has focused on animals in business and investment by looking at the many industries that rely, at least in part, on animals or animal derived parts in their manufacturing supply chain. It is beyond the scope of this particular Insight to consider the wider business impacts on biodiversity but this is a critically important issue that has to be more robustly acknowledged by investors. The final part of this Insight will therefore provide some context around biodiversity with a view to our providing more on this for clients in future publications.

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Conclusion

Animals, business and investment is perhaps a surprising subject for an EdenTree Insight. However, hopefully this Insight has illustrated the extent of industry’s reliance on animals and animal derived products and services. Some are obvious – however, how many investors would appreciate the dependent reliance of the auto industry on meat processing for hides?

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