Plant-Based Egg & Cultivated Chicken Exec Josh Tetrick is The Only Alt Protein Founder Included On TIME100’s First Climate List
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Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just and its cultivated meat subsidiary GOOD Meat, has been named in the inaugural TIME100 Climate list of most influential business leaders – the only person from the alternative protein industry to be chosen.
TIME describes its newly-debuted TIME100 Climate list as “an argument for how we see the future”, asserting that climate progress will come from “engagement with and leadership by the business world”. It published the inaugural list yesterday, with famous names ranging from Stella McCartney and Bill Gates to Billie Eilish and Coldplay.
Tetrick, whose California-based company is the maker of plant-based Just Egg (famous for its vegan liquid egg and frozen vegan egg patty) and the parent of cultivated meat entity GOOD Meat, is the only leader from this sector to be named as one of the 100 most influential climate pioneers in the world.
Tetrick was recognised for his company’s efforts to bring the world’s first cell-cultured meat to market – in Singapore three years ago – and for being one of the only two companies to be approved by the USDA to sell cultivated meat in the United States.
“I think individuals can make the choice to solve one part of our climate challenge by choosing to eat in a way that causes less harm,” Tetrick told TIME. “Less harm to themselves and to the planet. And this choice doesn’t require one dollar of new spending or any food technology company like ours to make cultivated or plant-based meats. It just takes an awareness of the problem and a will to take agency to solve it.”
Food accounts for a third of all global emissions, and meat is responsible for 60% of that share. Cultivated meat can emit 92% fewer emissions than conventional beef, reduce meat-production-related air pollution by 94%, and require 90% less land, according to peer-reviewed research.
Why the Eat Just founder made the TIME100 Climate list
The TIME100 Climate list was compiled after months of research and vetting by the magazine’s climate action platform TIME CO2. Its six-person team prioritised nominees from five systems crucial to change, aligning with scientific and economic consensus: energy, nature, finance, culture and health.
TIME CO2 valued measurable and scalable achievements over commitments and announcements, favouring more recent action. “The inaugural TIME100 Climate list produced no single perfect instance of complete climate action, but multitudes of individuals making significant progress in fighting climate change by creating business value,” wrote TIME CO2’s Marcius Extavour.
Asked what sustainability effort he hopes would gain more mainstream popularity over the next year, Tetrick said that while the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is paramount, so too is a shift away from the factory farming of billions of animals as a primary food source.
“That system causes more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined, and it’s getting worse every day. The effort is a simple one: choose to eat foods – mostly plant-based – that cause less harm to our planet,” he explained.
In response to a question asking about why climate tech isn’t getting enough attention, Tetrick unsurprisingly highlighted cultivated meat. “We believe that making meat without the large-scale slaughter of animals requires new technologies, including cultivating meat from a single cell and turning that into meat through a process of feeding and culturing those cells in vessels, similar to brewing beer,” he noted.
“The need for more funding, more attention and more government”
Tetrick added: “Cultivating meat is in its early days, and more attention and funding are needed to accelerate its rise to the top of the system of meat production.” It’s a point he touched upon on the Green Queen in Conversation: Cultivated Meat Pioneers podcast in September, the Eat Just founder told host and Green Queen founding editor Sonalie Figueiras that he wished infrastructure could be built faster, for which more capital is necessary.
“If you had instead of hundreds of millions, you had hundreds of billions, you would go faster,” he said. “You could build infrastructure faster, you could design and engineer the vessels. You could hire more people, you could accelerate research and development.” This additional capital, he stated, could come from both private and public funding, with Tetrick noting that he agrees that more money, attention and government support would accelerate this industry.
GOOD Meat has been recognized on multiple ‘best of’ lists including as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies,” Entrepreneur’s “100 Brilliant Companies,” CNBC’s “Disruptor 50” and a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer. JUST Egg has been named among Popular Science’s “100 Greatest Innovations” and Fast Company’s “World Changing Ideas” and the history-making debut of GOOD Meat was heralded as one of 2020’s top scientific breakthroughs by The Guardian, Vox and WIRED.