New Research Outlines Blueprint for Sustainable Protein Production in Asia
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A new study from Asia Research and Engagement (ARE) highlights the impact of animal protein production on greenhouse gas emissions across Asia’s ten largest markets.
The new ARE study, entitled “Charting Asia’s Protein Transition”, looks at animal protein production in markets including China, India, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Indonesia and the environmental impacts. The research also looks at ways to achieve climate safety and resiliency by reducing dependence on animal agriculture.
The study looked at several key factors impacting protein consumption from animal sources, including emission intensities, production methodologies, and consumption-related elements. It identified changes in GDP per capita, age demographics, and population as primary determinants influencing the volume of meat, dairy, seafood, and egg consumption.
In its analysis, the study considered three key scenarios in each of the markets: Business-as-Usual, Best Case Mitigation, and Protein Transition. Across all markets, the measures with the highest mitigation potential were identified as eliminating deforestation, peaking industrial production, and scaling alternative proteins.
According to the research, in order to attain climate safety by 2060, adopting mitigation measures is essential. This includes attaining a market share for alternative proteins between 40 to 90 percent, depending on the specific market, and the elimination of deforestation among other industrial animal production practices.
“We are faced with a stark reality whereby this study demonstrates that the business-as-usual approach, even with generous mitigation measures modeled, will not lead to a sustainable future,” Kate Blaszak, ARE’s Director of Protein Transition, said in a statement. “The transformation of the protein system is not just a choice, but one that we need to embrace if we are to achieve the targets outlined in the Paris Agreement, along with many other sustainability targets,” she said.
“For example, we are witnessing environmental risks, animal exploitation, antimicrobial resistance, and disease outbreaks in these countries, driven by the rapid intensification of animal production.” According to Blaszak, this proves that the transition to “responsible but limited” animal production, along with scaling alternative proteins is crucial for achieving climate safety.
The report says these key markets need to achieve peak industrial animal protein production by 2030 at the latest. The report also highlights excessive per capita meat and seafood consumption in many markets, often exceeding double the recommendations by thLancet Commission.
The study also emphasized the necessity of protein diversification and limiting industrial animal production as pivotal steps toward achieving protein security and climate safety. It urges food companies, investors, and governments to work towards a goal of Protein Transition, which necessitates responsible animal production and the scaling up of alternative proteins.
This research bolsters the Asia Protein Transition Platform, a partnership between ARE and institutional investors representing around $3 trillion, providing tools to assist companies in their protein transition.
Data released earlier this year showed year-on-year funding for alternative protein across the APAC region in 2022 had increased by 43 percent.