GFI's Science & Technology team has created an open-source guide to the clean meat industry. This "mindmap" explores where scientific innovation in clean meat currently stands, and what needs to be done to commercialize this product by 2021.
Rising global demand for meat will
increase environmental pollution, energy consumption, and animal
suffering. Clean meat, produced by animal-cell cultivation, is a
technically feasible alternative, provided that an animal
component-free growth medium can be developed. The authors note that
small-scale production looks particularly promising, not only
technologically, but also societally.
This paper reviews the growing need for
meat alternatives, the potential of clean meat as an alternative
to traditional livestock meat production, and the requirements for a
successful clean product. The authors conclude that in order to
serve as a credible alternative to livestock meat, clean meat must
be efficiently produced and mimic meat in all of its physical
sensations, such as visual appearance, smell, texture, and taste.
This study reviews the possibility of
producing clean meat as well as the health and environmental
advantages to disrupting current meat production systems. The authors
conclude that while in the short term the
extremely high prohibitive cost of the biofabrication of clean meat is the main potential obstacle, large-scale production and
market penetration are likely to result in a dramatic price
This paper employs the lifecycle
assessment research method to assess environmental impacts of
large-scale clean meat production. Despite high uncertainty, the
authors conclude that the overall environmental impacts of clean meat production are substantially lower than those of conventional
This protein-focused paper confirms that eating red meat may be linked to a higher risk of death. However, the study also found that substituting plant for animal protein, especially that from processed red meat, was associated with lower mortality.
In this global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities for animal agriculture, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations presents an evidenced-based picture of emissions with data broken down by species, agro-ecological zones, regions, and production systems. Beef and cattle milk production are found to account for the majority of emissions, respectively contributing 41 and 20 percent of the sector's emissions. The need to reduce the sector's emissions and its environmental footprint has indeed become ever more pressing in view of its continuing expansion to ensure food security and feed a growing, richer, and more urbanized popular world.
This latest installment of "Creating a Sustainable Food Future" shows that for people who consume high amounts of meat and dairy, shifting to diets with a greater share of plant-based foods could significantly reduce agriculture's pressure on the environment. It introduces a protein scorecard ranking foods from lowest (plant-based foods) to highest impact (beef), as well as the Shift Wheel, which harnesses proven marketing and behavior change strategies to help move billions of people to more sustainable diets.
The energy-intensive practices of industrial agriculture, involving the overuse of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, intensive tillage and plowing, failure to cover resting soil with fertility-building cover crops, as well as overgrazing, has systematically destroyed soil biota necessary for proper cycling and drawing down of atmospheric carbon into soil.
high consumption of livestock products in nearly all developed
countries, and increasing demand for livestock-based foods in large
transition economies, are creating serious problems of prolonged and
persistent environmental and social degradation. These problems are
further exacerbated and affected by climate change and risks,
biodiversity loss, water stress, and water pollution. How do the
associated socioeconomic aspects such as food security and personal
health, together with impoverishment and displacement of communities,
associated with livestock production consumption figure into the
challenges? And how can we change livestock production consumption to
reduce future environmental destruction going forward?”
This report presents the interim
findings of World Resources Report 2013–2014: Creating a
Sustainable Food Future, a collaboration of the World Resources
Institute, the United Nations Development Programme, the United
Nations Environment Programme, and the World Bank. It analyzes the
challenge and identifies the most promising technical options from a
comprehensive “menu” of practical, scalable strategies that could
close the food gap while reducing environmental pressure and
providing valuable economic and social benefits.
In any discussion of climate change,
fossil fuels top the list of causes. Oil, natural gas, and especially
coal are indeed major sources of human-caused carbon dioxide
emissions and other greenhouse gases (GHGs). The researchers of this
report argue that the lifecycle and supply chain of animals raised
for food are vastly underestimated sources of GHGs, and in fact
account for at least half of all human-caused GHGs. This implies that
replacing livestock products with better alternatives would be the
best strategy for reversing climate change.
This report, released by the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, assesses the impact
of the livestock sector on the environment along with potential
technical and policy approaches to mitigation. The authors reveal two
important general lessons: (1) the livestock sector has such deep and
wide-ranging environmental impacts that it should rank as one of the
leading focuses for environmental policy and (2) there is urgent need
to develop suitable institutional and policy frameworks at local,
national, and international levels to effect recommended changes.