Senior Program Officer for the Open Philanthropy Project, Lewis Bollard, discusses if Animal Welfare is growing in recognition as an ESG investing principle. Join us today #live and bring your questions for this episode of The Plantbased Business Hour.
- Specifically we discuss, who funds The Open Philanthropy Project and why?
- You focus a lot on funding youth and funding information. What studies have shown about the success of these tactics?
- Do you see animal welfare as an ESG investment proposal?
Below is a short clip and transcription from our long-form conversation.
Elysabeth: I want to speak with one of the four most grant recommenders, if that’s the right expression. We’ll find out if that’s the right expression. From the Open Philanthropy Project, Lewis Bollard, thank you for being with me today.
Let’s talk a little bit about that because the press has been, I want to say ruthless, but maybe I need to define ruthless. Maybe I’ll also say intentionally not accurate with a growing percentage of that being the case which is even worse than ruthless. So there seems to be some perhaps funding behind it. I’m taking a guess there, from the meat industry, that would be a guess. But whatever is going on in the press, it seems calculated and not with a regard for facts and that seems to be happening with increased frequency. Can you comment on that? What do you think is going on there?
Lewis Bollard: Yeah I mean I think we’ve seen a number of meat industry operatives going around industry conferences and saying “we need to fight back against alternative products. These are taking off in popularity particularly with younger consumers and we need to oppose them.” It’s often hard to know what’s happening behind closed doors, but we know these pitches are being made and we know that there are campaigns coming out the other side that are trying to tear the reputation of the alternative protein industry. I have to think that a lot of the media that has been generated attacking plant-based meat in particular over the last year, has been the result of a lot of this campaigning.
So I think you’re absolutely right to suspect that. I think that in particular you’re seeing this very disingenuous attack on plant-based meat products as unhealthy, as processed, and as unnatural. Which of course, coming from the meat industry is really incredible. I think there is this kind of coordinated attack going on and I’m hopeful that journalists will sort of wake up to what they’re being fed by the industry or friend groups representing the industry. But I think it’s also incumbent on players in the alt protein space to push back and make clear the really positive case for these products.
Elysabeth: So let’s go over some of the positive cases folks, just to run this through. It’s probably not intuitive but meat has no fiber. So you look at it and you think, “It must have fiber. It looks like it’s fibrous.” But it actually has no fiber. It’s very difficult to be healthy if you don’t have fiber in a very long digestive tract. So meat has no fiber and plant-based foods or alternatives will have some fiber.
But most importantly, meat has cholesterol, and plant-based products won’t. Meat induces trimethylamine n-oxide which is very bad for your heart, and plant-based alternatives don’t. And then of course meat is going to have antibiotics and hormones and plant-based alternatives won’t.
So you’re getting a lot of a healthier option there. And then the meat industry is the industry that coined the phrase and defined the sector of processed meats. Those would be class one carcinogens according to the World Health Organization: things like deli meats, sausages, bacon, hot dogs- things we send our kids to school with for lunch are class one carcinogens. This is not going to be the case with plant-based alternatives.
So you see a much healthier step in the right direction. Obviously is a plant-based burger a carrot? No, it is not. So if you would like to have a salad or a carrot then you should eat a salad or a carrot. But if you’re looking for that taste of a burger, one is clearly a healthier option than the other despite negative media as of late.
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