The Coller Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return (FAIRR) Protein Producer index has found that 72% of meat and fish companies are failing to measure or report their climate emissions, despite the fact that livestock production represents 14.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

The index examined 60 of the world’s biggest meat and fish companies, which were assessed on factors including animal welfare, water scarcity, deforestation and working conditions. Self-declared information from each company was also considered, and the index set a wide range of key performance indicators, such as targets for deforestation reduction, a policy on antibiotic reduction, or water exposer of supply chains. Of the companies assessed, 60% were found to be ‘either not managing critical risks or are failing to disclose basic information’.

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy European office director Shefali Sharma said: “It is clear that the meat and dairy industries have remained out of public scrutiny in terms of their significant climate impact. For this to change these companies must be held accountable for the emissions and they must have credible, independently verifiable emissions reductions strategy.”

Aviva Investors responsible investment global head Abigail Herron said: “Our research shows that three in four of these companies are ignoring the calls from regulators, health professionals and the financial community to manage and reduce their use of antibiotics. That failure puts both global public health and their business models at risk.”

Climate change was the main concern raised in the report, and 19 companies received the lowest possible mark in this section, including the Australia Agricultural Company, a US egg-producing company Cal-Maine, the Russian Cherkizovo, and Indian Venky’s. The report argues that this may be ‘putting the implementation of the Paris agreement in jeopardy’.

Antibiotics use was also highlighted as a significant problem. Despite antibiotics resistance being considered one of the biggest threats to public health, the report says there has been a ‘widespread failure to respond’ to the crisis, and 77% of the sector ranked ‘high risk’ on antibiotic stewardship, with ‘little or no measures in place to reduce excessive use of antibiotics’.

FAIRR research and corporate engagement head Aarti Ramachandran said: “From an investment point of view, it is not only this $300bn group of companies at risk but the wider multi-trillion dollar global food supply chain … Investors sit at the top of the chain as ultimate owners of these listed businesses. They need to use their influence as responsible stewards of these assets to start a dialogue on best practice and encourage a race to the top to build a more sustainable food system.”

World Economic Forum climate change initiatives head Emily Farnworth said: “A major, systemic change is needed in the way we source protein if we are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, habitat loss and water stress. This can only be achieved if businesses and policymakers, working with the latest food technologies and scientific advice, collaborate to create a sustainable and nutritious food revolution that meets tomorrow’s demand.”