Greenpeace Calls Out Meat Industry For Lack of Sustainability
International advocacy group Greenpeace just put the spotlight on the worldwide meat and dairy industries, blaming the food giants for inflaming environmental destruction and ignoring calls for sustainable innovation. The network is working to highlight the dangers of the meat industry by exposing the corporations’ efforts to hide the environmental damages through marketing and advertising strategies.
Greenpeace aims to dismantle these efforts to ignore calls for sustainability improvements. Meat and dairy giants worldwide have been consistently linked to the increasingly worsening environmental crisis. Animal agriculture was named as a top contributor to climate change earlier this year, when the UN released a “Code Red” report that linked the environmental crisis with animal-based food production.
Since then, the animal agriculture giants have distanced themselves from the conversation. Greenpeace intends to rope the corporations back into the dialogue, holding the meat and dairy producers accountable for global environmental damages.
“Care for some lies with that steak?” Greenpeace wrote on its Instagram post, reaching nearly 3.9 million followers with these words. “The world of meat marketing is a happy place. It’s dominated by the color green and populated with idyllic farmhouses and free-range animals on lush pastures. However, behind this carefully constructed dream the meat industry is selling us, lies a different reality: from climate change to forest fires to human rights abuses, the global industrial meat industry leaves a trail of destruction all over the world.”
The campaign launched against animal agriculture is joined by a new study conducted by Greenpeace Denmark. The Instagram post is inspired by the report’s finding that details how major meat and dairy producers have based the marketing campaigns on seven myths to disrupt sustainable action and legislation. The findings assert that meat and dairy giants have launched campaigns claiming that “meat is good for you,” “eating meat is about freedom and choice,” “eating meat is a patriotic act,” or “eating meat brings people together.”
The report also found that the animal agriculture giants have started spreading contrarian claims that include “eating meat makes you more of a man,” “good women prepare and serve meat to their family,” and "meat is part of the climate solution, not the problem.” Greenpeace claims that the animal agricultural industry aims to use these advertorial strategies to sway public opinion against sustainable alternatives. The organization stated that this is not the first time a major industry used these techniques.
“The marketing playbook used by the meat industry is no different from the one deployed by the tobacco or alcohol industries in the last decades,” Greenpeace wrote. “Advertising of tobacco and alcohol has been highly regulated for the well-being of society. Shouldn’t it be about time to also start regulating advertising for the well-being of the whole planet and apply similar restrictions to meat marketing too?”
Greenpeace is working to undercut these false ad campaigns to promote innovation across the food industries worldwide. The organization believes that the meat and dairy corporations are attempting to target vulnerable groups through several means such as nutrition, sexual identity, and patriotism to push against plant-based demand.
Recently, the Good Food Institute issued a life cycle assessment to examine how sustainable plant-based protein production compared to conventional animal-based meat and dairy products. The assessment found that alternative protein produces 86 percent fewer greenhouse gases, used 97 percent less land, and wastes 96 percent less water. The figure clearly indicates the sustainable value of alternative protein in contrast to its environmentally damaging animal-based counterparts.
Other organizations such as The Plant Based Treaty have started working to implement plant-based and sustainable alternatives to the current food systems. The Plant Based Treaty – later recreated by Moby – aims to build off of the Paris Agreement to spotlight how plant-based food systems can be the solution to the worsening climate crisis. The Plant Based Treaty launched after the UN attributed the uncontrollably rising greenhouse gas emissions to dangerous practices in the animal agriculture industry.
“This report makes it clear that rapid, strong, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gases are needed now. We cannot wait two, five, or ten years. It has to be done now,” Director of communications at Plant Based Treaty Nicola Harris said in response to the 2021 UN IPCC report. “We need to transform to a plant-based food system as a matter of urgency if we are to reduce methane to safe levels and slow global warming.”