Who to Target and How

Divestment campaigns against public facing entities that invest billions in factory farming. Outreach to investors about the financial risks, climate concerns, and ethical pitfalls of providing capital to the factory farming industry.

Potential Targets

Any entity that is susceptible to public pressure campaigns (read, entities whose public image is important to them prospering) and that also invests large amounts of money is a good target. Investors who took steps to the divest from fossil fuels campaigns would be a good place to start as they have shown they are open to making positive changes in their investment strategies.

Example Targets

  • Endowments funds (ex. Yale)
  • Pension funds (ex. Teachers Pension Fund)
  • Faith Organizations (ex. The Lutheran World Federation )
  • Trusts and Foundations (ex. Gates Foundation)
  • Museum Foundations (ex. Museum of Natural History )
  • Consumer Banks (ex. Wells Fargo)
  • Governments (ex. Ceasing grants/subsidies/permits)

Good early stage targets will

  • Be a well known school
  • Particularly influential in the finance / food world
  • Have committed to divesting from fossil fuels
  • Have a large endowment
  • Be easy to access and research
  • Large enrollment
  • Have a ready support network of allies

Funds held by potential targets

  • Fossil fuel divestment efforts have led to 1000+ institutions, who control over $8 Trillion to divest from fossil fuels[1]
  • As of 2018 the 101 largest US college endowment funds control a cumulative $479 Billion in investment capital.[2]
  • As of 2018 the 30 largest US public pension funds maintained a cumulative $2.908 Trillion in assets.[3]
  • As of 2016 the 40 largest charitable endowments have a cumulative $453.42 Billion in assets.[4]

[1] See list of 1000+ institutions, worth 8 Trillion+, who divested from fossil fuels[2] See list of college endowments greater than $1 billion here[3] See list of the 30 largest pensions in the US here[4] See list of the 40 largest charitiable foundations here

Every new factory farm requires investor capital. Stop the investment and you stop factory farming.

Every new factory farm requires investment capital. This capital is raised by selling debt or equity. Investors buy this debt and equity expecting to profit, believing the risk is worth the potential profit. There are many ways to show them that factory farming operations are too risky to be good investments. This is our job. We need to stigmatize investment in factory farming as too risky to be profitable.

Debt financing

Pete’s Polluting Inc. wants to build a new chicken factory farm in China. Pete doesn’t have enough capital/cash to do this. So he asks an investor for $10 Million. The investor lends him the $10 Million so that he can afford this new venture but requires him to pay $12 Million back within 10 years. This is debt financing. The large majority of new factory farms require debt financing.

Pete has led the investor to believe that lending to Pete’s Polluting Inc. is a rewarding investment worth the small risk of not being repaid. The investor doesn’t know that Pete’s Polluting Inc has been dumping noxious substances into the water table that cause cancer and that a pending class action lawsuit against them could bankrupt them, making them unable to repay their debt. It is our job to show this investor that the investment isn’t worth the risk and that there are less risky more profitable places to invest instead.

Equity financing

Murdering Joe’s Corp. wants to build a set of new factory fish farms across India. Joe doesn’t have enough capital to fund this fishy venture so he sell’s 50% of the company to an investor. The cash from the sale is then used to build these new industrial fish farms. This is equity financing. The investor trades money for a stake in the company with the hope that the company will be successful and he will profit as a result.

Joe has led the investor to believe that buying part of Murdering Joe’s Corp. is a good investment. He’s convinced him that the company will be successful and by trading money for a stake in now will lead to future profits that are worth the risk. The investor doesn’t know that several Indian state’s are on the verge of outlawing antibiotic use in fish farms and when that happens the these Murdering Joe’s Corp. will be forced out of business, killing any hope of future profits. It is our job to show this investor that the investment isn’t worth the risk and there are less risky and more profitable places to invest instead.

Campaign battle plan

This isn't something we can share publicly. If you have an interest in learning more and want to see an example campaign plan please reach out to us at Campaigns@DefundFactoryFarming.com.

Beyond divestment campaigns

It is important to note, there are many ways to stigmatize investment in factory farming. Campaigning against public entities that are invested in factory farming is just one of many approaches that could be taken.

A great amount of good can also be done through very positive dialogue with these institutions before a campaign is ever launched. When the risks and consequences of investing in factory farming are calmly and compassionately communicated, there will be many investors and institutions that choose to not invest in factor farming, instead favoring less risky, better performing investment opportunities.

Other ways to stigmatize

  • Outreach to student in programs that feed finance roles
  • Outreach to finance and economics professors
  • Empower and encourage media outlets with particular influence in the world of finance to run stories about the risks associated with factory farming
  • Exploit all bad news that comes out of the factory farming industry. Work to keep these stories of crisis, financial risk, loss, and scandal in the public eye as much as possible.
  • Encourage influential figures (such as business moguls or celebrities) to make public pledges to not invest in factory farming.

Beyond stigmatization - other ways to challenge the economics of factory farming

Defunding factory farming will take time and a variety of tactics. Stigmatizing investment and encouraging divestment in the industrialized animal agriculture sector is just one of many promising approaches that can challenge factory farming. There is not one singularly best way to help end factory farming and many of the approaches work best in tandem. For example, work that popularizes plant-based options makes it easier to reduce sales of animal products by reducing the proportion of shelf/menu space they receive. The reduced sales will then make it easier to convince investors that factory farming is not a thriving industry they should bet on. Below are some other approaches that could be significant in changing the economics of factory farming for the better.

Reduce profit from animal products

    • Increase production costs
      • Animal welfare regulation
      • Environmental regulation
      • Labor regulation
      • Taxes / tariffs
      • Removal of subsidies
      • Lawsuits

Reduce revenue streams from animal products

    • Reduce sales
      • Increase consumer cost
      • Decrease shelf/menu space
      • Depopularize consumption

Build useful capacity for the fight against factory farming

    • Inspire / enable economists to take up research that might be be applicable to challenging key economic supports

Make operating/expanding difficult for factory farming corporations

    • Support local efforts to stop new slaughterhouses
    • Reduce the available labor pool
    • Laws that ban import/export of animal products
    • Bans on new CAFOs

Address supply lines

    • Increase costs of supplies (ex. ethanol mandate increased the cost of feed)
    • Decrease availability of supplies

Make it easier for businesses to reduce their use of animals

Increase competition in the food market

    • Increase availability of plant-based options
    • Reduce the cost of plant-based options
    • Improve the popularity of plant-based options