Skip to main content

Banks must end support of industrial meat production

News | Published  12 June 2023

Eating Better alliance member Feedback recently attended the annual general meetings (AGMs) of two major banks to question their continued investment in industrial livestock. Feedback’s Christina O’Sullivan explains that banks need to end their support of industrial meat production.


Most banks proclaim climate commitments that sound promising but on closer inspection are greenwash.

Research clearly shows that we cannot keep global warming below 1.5ºC without reducing global meat production and consumption. Livestock is already responsible for about 16.5% of total emissions and a third of methane emissions related to human activity globally. So any bank continuing to fund industrial meat production cannot claim to be serious about tackling climate change.

The cow in the room - JBS

Behind huge livestock emissions stand companies like JBS – the world’s largest and reportedly highest-emitting meat corporation, with a climate footprint greater than that of Spain. Yet despite its commitment to being “net zero” by 2050, Barclays has emerged as the “go-to bank” for JBS: new research released by Feedback, BankTrack and Mighty Earth indicates that Barclays was the biggest global financier of JBS between 2015-22 providing an estimated $6 billion in finance to the company during this period.

When questioned about their own JBS shares at the AGM, the HSBC’s Chief Executive Noel Quinn  simply shrugged, and claimed that he was not familiar with JBS. To which we responded ‘Seriously?’. The bank’s own analysts warned in 2020 that JBS: “has no vision, action plan, timeline, technology or solution” for monitoring whether the cattle it buys originate from farms involved in rainforest destruction. Additionally, JBS has faced multiple allegations of Indigenous land theft and modern day slavery in its supply chains. 

Industrial livestock is beyond reform 

Banks often claim that by financing companies they can guide them on a sustainability journey. But the reality is that for companies like JBS, their core business is a polluting industry: the unsustainable mass-production of meat and dairy, and its growth. This places them at direct odds with what we need to avert climate breakdown: a just transition to lower meat and dairy production. Engagement will not work. Gambling on these companies’ success is a doomed enterprise - leading to climate catastrophe and financial losses if governments don’t take action to regulate this polluting industry. We all have to live with the consequences of these banks financing climate chaos. It’s time for banks to stop funding these companies - before it’s too late. 

Read the full report 'A Rotten Business: How Barclays became the go-to bank for JBS, one of the world’s most destructive meat corporations'


Subscribe to our newsletter — Get the latest news, research, and reports from the Eating Better Alliance delivered directly to your inbox.
We will never share your information and you can unsubscribe at anytime. Read our privacy policy here.
Read the latest updates — Stay informed with our latest news articles, in-depth reports, and insightful case studies.
Help spread the word — Please share this page on your favourite social media platforms to keep the conversation going.