Top 5 Meat & Milk Companies Produce More Emissions Than ExxonMobil

According to the Meat Atlas, an analysis put together by Friends of the Earth and Heinrich Böll Stiftung (a European political foundation), 20 meat and dairy companies combined produce more greenhouse gas emissions than Germany, France, or Britain. Combined, the 5 largest companies—JBS, Tyson, Cargill, Dairy Farmers of America, and Fonterra—produce more emissions than oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP. In 2016, these top 5 companies reportedly produced 578 megatonnes of emissions compared to ExxonMobil’s 577 megatonnes. The top 20 dairy and meat companies produced 932 megatonnes in total.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that the food sector accounts for 21%-37% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock constitutes 56%-58% of that, despite only providing 18% of the world’s calories. The companies also have major financial backing: From 2015 to 2020, 2,500 banks and funds invested $478 billion in the sector, and the companies were supported by both direct and indirect government subsidies.

As the world starts to feel the effects of climate change and global warming, activists are pushing governments to regulate emissions emanating from the food sector and encouraging people to eat less meat.