Measuring The Impact
of stigmatizing factory farm financing through divestment campaigns
importance, tractability, neglectedness, and Failure
We're exploring this approach to help animals because addressing the economic supports of factory farming seems important, neglected, and tractable. We're cautiously optimistic that a great amount of good can be done by stigmatizing factory farming investment. This is an approach that has not been explored by the animal protection movement in any structured way. With support from people experienced in the worlds of finance, economics, fossil fuel divestment, movement building, institutional outreach, and public pressure campaigns, it is likely we'll see a lot of progress. Where many fossil fuel divestment commitments have been won quickly and many animal welfare commitments have been accomplished with staggering speeds, we expect to see similar results. There is a lot of low hanging fruit that we are excited to pick.
We might fail, but not before exploring this opportunity to help animals. Our goal isn't to do all this work ourselves; our goal is to see this work happen. This pie is too big to eat alone and we have every intention of getting as many people as possible to help take a bite out of it. Collaboration will be critical to seeing truly significant change to the economics of factory farming.
Billions of individuals
We should never forget why fighting factory farming is so important. The billions of lives on those farms are individuals just like her. We are bleeding hearts and would willingly spend years to help an individual animal, but billions need help, so we need to do everything we can help as many as possible, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Thoughts on maximizing impact
- Where possible, focus efforts in ways that inspire new actors to take up ending factory farming (i.e. it is better to inspire large environmental NGOs to take up factory farming divestment campaigns than it would be to inspire animal charities that are already working to end factory farming).
- Open source resources and provide infrastructure to enable future growth in the movement to defunding factory farming. There are a lot of different organizations and projects that could exist to defund factory farming in several different ways. Finding ways to make it easier for others to take up and run with this work is a worthwhile effort.
- Where possible, focus efforts in ways that reduce chicken and fish farming as these animals tend to suffer more for the same amount of product produced (i.e. if there is an option between targeting a company that raises cattle or chickens, target the one that raises chickens).
- The importance of limiting cash flow to factory farms cannot be understated. Negative press about a company won't be particularly impactful to its operations unless you can make a compelling case for why their cash flow and their ability to operate/profit is vulnerable.
- Where possible, focus efforts in ways that will reduce the expansion of factory farming in China, India, and other emerging markets (i.e. if doing outreach to MBA and finance students/professors to stigmatize investment in factory farming, it would be best to do so at a school that has the most significant ties to these emerging markets. This might be schools with high international student populations and/or international satellite campuses).
- The largest impacts come from compounding the effects of stigmatization over time (i.e. between getting a private commitment to have $1Billion divested, or a public commitment to divest $1Million that comes with significant media in financial news sources, it is likely better to pursue the latter).
- Limiting sources of debt financing to factory farming corporations is likely much more impactful than stopping equity investors.
Metrics we can track
- Size of funds and number of entities divested from factory farming
- Capital invested in the plant-based / clean food space
- Public stigmatization of factory farming as an investment too risky to be profitable
- How many people / entities we inspire to take action encouraging divestment
- Some other miscellaneous metrics and non-primary but still positive side effects
Our bottom lineFor much of the work we do it will be hard to confirm our exact impact, but we must always remember that are main goals are:
- Reducing the number of animals in factory farms
- Reducing the amount of suffering animals experience on factory farms
Ways to track key indicators of success
- Divestment in factory farming
- Size of funds pledged not to invest
- Amount of money divested
- Investment in plant-based / clean food space
- Amount of reallocated capital from factory farming to plant-based foods
- Size of funds pledged to invest the a plant-based / clean food space
- Surveys to assess confidence in factory farming investment pre and post-campaign within key demographics
- Media coverage (ex. New York Times articles)
- Financial news coverage (ex. Bloomberg)
- Industry coverage (ex. WATTAgNet.com)
- Public discourse on the topic (ex. Reddit discussions)
- Academic articles on the topic (ex. London School of Economics paper)
- Number and diversity of entities committed to divesting
- College Endowments (ex. Yale)
- Pension Funds (ex. Teachers Pension Fund)
- Philanthropic Trusts (ex. Gates Foundation)
- For Profit Corporations (ex. CSAA Insurance Group)
- Faith-based organizations (ex. The Lutheran World Federation)
- Private Equity Investors (ex. Blue Horizon Capital)
- Banks and Debt Financiers (ex. Fidelity Investments)
- Governments & Governmental Institutions (ex. New York City)
- Number of entities pledging support
- Successful student union referendums
- NGO’s who make a positive public statement
- Number of personal pledges not to invest (ex. # finance students pledged)
- Number of influencers publicly pledged not to invest (ex. Oprah, Gates, Musk, etc. )
- Content views/sharing/commenting (ex. Facebook ad views)
- Mobilization / catalyzing / movement building
- Number of organizations who take up this work
- Environmental NGO’s
- Human health and welfare NGO’s
- Animal protection NGO’s
- Number of activists engaging with our calls to action
- Number of actions taken through our calls to action
- Number of student signatures at target colleges
- Number of activists in or returning to India / China engaged
- Amount of media attention within the environmental movement given to fighting the factory farming of chickens and fishes
- Number of organizations who take up this work
- Non-primary benefits
- Number of people who go vegetarian / reduce animal product consumption as a result of our efforts