As per the Vegan Society, if today the world became vegan then it would:
- Lead to saving of 8 million human lives by 2050
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2/3rd and
- Lead to savings in healthcare expenditure and avoided climate damages of nearly USD 1.5 trillion
As per AT Kearney Report, Global meat market mix would change dramatically over the next 20 years; the share of consumption of conventional meat would come down from 90% to 40% by 2040.
As per an Oxford University research done in 2018 “avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth” as animal agriculture provides only 18% of calories taking up a massive 83% of the farmland.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), largest animal rights organization based out of USA have been contributing significantly towards the cause since it was founded in 1980. It has gone a long way in engaging celebrities with the cause which has led to creating awareness amongst millions of people around the world. PETA also maintains a searchable database of companies that do and that don’t test their products on animals.
No. of people turning vegans are growing at an exponential rate; which would lead to an opportunity for providers of non-animal related products or products that simulate meat. For e.g. during the recent times Beyond Meat (Nasdaq: BYND), which offers revolutionary plant based meat substitutes like Beyond Burgers, that tastes similar to meat, was listed in May 2019; priced at an issue price of USD 25 per share; which appreciated to almost 10x (Life High – USD 239) over 3 months’ post listing. Beyond Meat also received several awards from different organizations for featuring amongst the World’s most innovative companies. BYND was amongst the most talked about stocks (CMP – USD 83) in 2019. All of BYND’s products are made from plants and replicate its core structure & sensory experience. BYND claims to disrupt a market with size of USD 270 bn in USA and USD 1.4 trillion globally; categorizing themselves as the “Future of Protein”. The company has added 23,000 stores & 25,000 foodservice rollout outlets in USA & Canada till Sep 2019. Its Q2FY’19 Net Revenues were USD 67.3 mn; earning a Gross Margin of 33.8%. This level of expansion for a startup is phenomenal, further it validates the point that the younger generation are becoming more self-conscious of the environment and surroundings.
As per the prospectus of Beyond Meat; it engaged the University of Michigan to conduct a peer-review, third-party-led Life Cycle Assessment; where comparisons of the environmental impacts associated with producing a ¼ pound Beyond Burger versus a ¼ pound, standard 80/20 beef burger (which is a mixture of 80% lean cow muscle and 20% cow fat) were done in 2017 & 2018. The outcome of this research study showed that compared to a beef burger, the Beyond Burger generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 46% lower energy, has 99% less impact on water scarcity and has 93% lower impact on usage of land.
Lot of famous F&B chains like KFC, Subway, TGI Fridays, DelTaco, Dunkin Donuts, PizzaRev and several more are collaborating with BYND to offer its products.
Additionally, BYND is not the only player in the market; there are a bunch of companies who are eyeing to capture this market; of course not all of them are vegan but are vegetarian; some are Impossible Foods, Awesome Burger-Nestle, LightLife, Naturli’, Linda McCartney Foods, Oumph!, Boca Burger , Gardein , Goshen Alimentos, Morningstar Farms , Solar Foods, Tofurky and a lot more.
Globally, there is a movement towards shifting away from products that cause Animal suffering and harm environment. With this change in trend towards Vegan culture there would be lot of disruption lead by innovators who can fill this gap. For a global investor it becomes imperative to stay updated in the emerging trends in this sector and try to tap opportunities at its nascent stage.
So, the answer to my question that Can Investments Be Vegan? Is indeed Yes!
Hope to see Indians, who historically have been in forefront of showing kindness towards animals realize the importance of Veganism. Also hope to see soon Vegan index launched in India followed by an ETF or a Fund to recognize the need of an investor who has adopted Veganism or is influenced by the ideology of SRI/ ESG.
Ending my article with a request to have a deep thought on one of the greatest quotes by Mahatma Gandhi (Father of Nation, India) “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”