Beef and dairy products contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water use, deforestation, and pollution. Replacing animal protein with efficiently grown plant protein can have a long-term positive impact on the environment, populations and businesses, according to Herbalife Nutrition
The United Nations (UN), through its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, made up of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), offers countries and their societies an opportunity to embark on a new path with which to improve the life of all, pursue equal opportunities and protect the environment, among other goals. To this Global Compact, which was joined by 193 countries, including Spain, in 2015, companies such as Herbalife Nutrition have also joined . John Agwunobi, president of the multinational specialized in nutrition and healthy lifestyle, assures that the company, as a signatory member, dedicates efforts and resources “to improve communities and work for a more sustainable future.”
The high consumption of beef and dairy products, especially in higher-income countries, accelerates the climate crisis, as they are products that contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water use, deforestation and contamination, so becoming or being vegan goes far beyond an ethical option, it is a show of solidarity with others.
Repercussions for the environment
Unfortunately, it seems that it is going in the opposite direction. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, global demand for meat is expected to double between now and 2050. And with the world population forecast to exceed 9 billion in 2050, it is expected that the demand for daily protein rations increased by 74%. “If only a fraction of those rations came from plant sources such as soy, quinoa or pea protein , the impact would be significant,” explains Agwunobi.
In the specific case of soybeans, this protein contains the nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own, making it one of the only complete plant proteins available. Growing soybeans is also comparatively efficient as it uses less water and emits less carbon, and produces more protein per hectare than beef, eggs or milk. Therefore, replacing them with efficiently grown plant proteins can have a positive long-term impact on the environment.
Repercussions for the population
In addition to the positive impact on the environment, consuming vegan, incorporating plant-based ingredients in the diet, has a positive impact on the world’s food supply, as it makes better use of earthly resources. According to a research study published by the National Academy of Sciences, replacing all animal products with plant-based diets could add enough food to the supply chain to feed 350 million more people, contributing greatly measure to support the second UN Sustainable Goal: zero hunger.
Changing your diet and creating new habits is not always easy, due to unequal access. In addition, there is still much to discover about the effects of plant protein on exercise performance; But the truth is that eating less meat can reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and some types of cancer. Eating more vegetables also provides a useful amount of carbohydrates that the body can burn during exercise. “All of these reasons are a good reason to start the change.”
Promote sustainable businesses
Having a positive impact on society is more than just making the world a better place; It also makes sense from a business point of view. People are increasingly affected by critical social issues, with investors and other stakeholders watching closely as consumers demand that companies take a certain stance. From improving the environment to diversity and inclusion, investors increasingly consider how companies support communities, society and the planet, as part of their investment thesis.
“We must give priority to creating a better world, both now and for future generations,” says Agwunobi, who recalls the speech that António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, delivered on the state of the planet in 2020 and in the that made reference to the task that defines the XXI century: to make peace with nature. “We must take a small step to improve our world and create a more sustainable future,” concludes Agwunobi.