Plans to present meat as ‘sustainable nutrition’ at Cop28 revealed

Plans to present meat as ‘sustainable nutrition’ at Cop28 revealed

The meat industry plans a big promotional push at Cop28.

Big meat companies and lobby groups are planning a large presence at the Cop28 climate conference, equipped with a communications plan to get a pro-meat message heard by policymakers throughout the summit.

Documents show that the meat industry is poised to “tell its story and tell it well” at the Dubai conference.

The files show how the world’s largest meat company, JBS, is planning to come out in “full force” at the summit, along with other big industry hitters such as the Global Dairy Platform and the North American Meat Institute.

The documents, which were produced by the industry-funded Global Meat Alliance (GMA), emphasise the industry’s desire to promote “our scientific evidence” at the summit.

Members of the alliance have been asked to stick to key comms messages, which include the idea that meat is beneficial to the environment.

Meat and dairy companies are under increasing pressure over their large greenhouse gas footprints. The dairy industry is responsible for 3.4% of global human-induced emissions, a higher share than aviation.

Trade groups also give some indication in the documents of how they hope to shape conversations in Dubai. One said it will “push” the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation to host “positive livestock content” at Cop28. 

It was recently revealed that pressure from the industry led to censorship of FAO reports on the role of cattle in increasing greenhouse gas emissions.


Animal agriculture is the largest emitter of methane, a greenhouse gas 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide when measured over a 20-year period. Scientists said that unless swift action is taken, methane from agriculture alone will push the world beyond a 1.5C (2.7F) rise in temperature above preindustrial levels that risks tipping the world into irreversible climate breakdown.

“These companies are stepping up their game because the exposure they are facing is stepping up,” says Jennifer Jacquet, professor of environmental science and policy at the University of Miami. 

“It used to be that they were caught on the back foot, but now they’re completely prepared.” 

“Any credible action to reduce emissions in the food sector will inevitably lead to a reduction in the total volume of meat and dairy products produced,” says Nusa Urbancic, CEO of campaign group the Changing Markets Foundation. 

“The industry is terrified of that and has been deploying multiple tactics to delay the inevitable.”

The meat sector’s largest emitters plan to be on the ground at Cop28 in large numbers, the documents show. 

Companies at the summit will be accompanied by lobby groups that represent them, some of which have a history of obstructive action. They include the North American Meat Institute (Nami), which represents large meat producers in the US and which in 2022 was still questioning on its website whether climate change was caused by humans.

  •  The Guardian


Check out our Sustainability and Climate Change Hub where you will find the latest news, features, opinions and analysis on this topic from across the various Irish Examiner topic desks and their team of specialist writers and columnists.

More in this section

Cookie Policy Privacy Policy Brand Safety FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Examiner Echo Group Limited