Food Sector Emissions: Organizational Shallow Dives

*Note: while this document currently sits within the "US Policy Change" section of our website, it is not limited to nor determined by our work on US Policy Change. We're working on restructuring the website to account for our new and expanded research agenda. Thanks for your patience!


This report was last updated in August 2022.


This document contains our "shallow dives" on organizations whose work we have identified as potentially reducing food sector emissions. For more on our research process and the function of shallow dives, see Giving Green's Approach to Policy Change. For more on our perspective on food sector emissions, see Food Sector Emissions.


We publish our shallow dives to promote research transparency. These represent our initial research output on each organization, which we use to determine which organizations should receive detailed “deep dive” analysis by our team. A decision not to do a deep dive on any of these organizations is not an indication that we believe they are ineffective. We believe that most of these organizations are doing important work in the fight against climate change. However, our research team has specific priorities and limited time.


So far, we have published shallow dives on the following organizations:





 


The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations

Last updated: 2022-08-22


Who are they and what do they do?

The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO)–founded in 2011–is a collection of 120 member organizations and 200 supporter groups in India that primarily focuses on improving the welfare of farmed animals (Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, n.d.-b, 2021). It also reduces the suffering of companion animals and animals used for entertainment. As summarized by Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE), FIAPO’s activities include:


  • Improving animal welfare standards

  • Enhancing the animal advocacy movement

  • Increasing the availability of animal-free products

  • Advocating for legislative change

  • Directly caring for animals

  • Carrying out a pledge program for reducing meat consumption (Animal Charity Evaluators, 2021)


FIAPO’s work could reduce greenhouse gas emissions if it leads to fewer livestock products being produced. Our report focuses on beef production because ruminants are high emitters of greenhouse gases, and beef has a large carbon footprint.[1]


What have they accomplished or claim to have accomplished?


Overview

FIAPO has a history of accomplishments in policy advocacy, business development and promotion, and consumer behavior change. Examples of these activities are as follows:


  • Policy advocacy – FIAPO has worked with 102 Members of Parliament (MPs) to make them more aware of animal protection issues (Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, 2020). According to FIAPO, almost 20 MPs have raised 35 questions about animal welfare in parliament. FIAPO also writes letters to MPs to ask them to sign pledges and letters of support. It has written almost 70 letters and received five positive responses.

  • Business development and promotion – In 2020, FIAPO launched The Plant Factor Campaign, a food innovation challenge that provided winning plant-based food developers with money, training, mentorship, and support (Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, n.d.-a). It also developed The Plant Factor-y, a directory of plant-based foods and products in India. As of July 2022, we are unfamiliar with successfully scaled companies that have come out of FIAPO’s campaign.

  • Consumer behavior change – FIAPO carried out a “Eat the Plant” Challenge that encouraged people to adhere to a plant-based diet for at least three weeks. The organization provided participants with recipes and information on plant-based products. FIAPO claims this campaign reached over ten million people and around 20,000 people remained vegan after the pledge (Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, 2020). However, it is unclear how long these changes persisted and what the participants’ baseline meat consumption was. Due to these uncertainties and our broader skepticism of behavior change interventions, we deprioritized further investigation into FIAPO’s consumer behavior change work.


What potential do they have for impact?


Background

The Global Agricultural Information Network projected that India’s cattle production, which includes both beef and buffalo meat, would reach 4.1 million metric tons in 2021 and that India would export about 1.4 million metric tons to other countries (Office of Agricultural Affairs, New Delhi, 2021). Currently, India is one of the world’s largest exporters of cattle meat and is forecast to be the third largest exporter in 2022 (ET Bureau, 2021; Zia et al., 2019).[2] Because cattle produce a significant amount of greenhouse gases, reducing their overall number worldwide could lead to emissions reductions.


One study estimated that based on current trends, India’s annual emissions by 2050 could include 375 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent (CO2e) of enteric emissions and 37.5 million metric tons of CO2e of manure-related emissions (Patra, 2014). Reducing the amount of beef and buffalo raised in India could lower direct methane emissions and limit land-use change associated with livestock production.


Reduced meat consumption may not be a strong lever for reducing livestock emissions in India.

Despite India’s high cattle production rate, its per capita meat consumption is currently low. For example, per capita meat consumption in India in 2017 was only 11 kilograms per person, compared to 146 kilograms in the United States (Ritchie & Roser, 2017; United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, 2020). Seafood and poultry, both relatively low-emitting foods, contribute the most to India’s per capita meat consumption. Beef and buffalo and mutton and goat, all high-emitting foods, are consumed in low quantities per capita. The country’s per capita beef consumption is especially low in part because cattle slaughter and consumption are opposed by several major religions in India. However, India’s overall consumption of livestock products is expected to increase in the future as the country becomes wealthier.


Although per capita meat consumption is low in India, the country has a large and growing population, so its absolute consumption is relatively high. Additionally, there are some populations in India that eat more beef than average. FIAPO could potentially reduce beef consumption by targeting its work towards those populations. However, FIAPO does not allow donors to restrict their donations to any particular cause. Because FIAPO has a broad portfolio of activities, donating to FIAPO could potentially support work that either has no effect or a negative effect on climate. For example, FIAPO’s work on improving living conditions for ruminants may have mixed effects on emissions. In particular, improving the quality of ruminants’ feed could increase their productivity, decreasing the amount of methane they emit per unit of milk or meat (Beauchemin et al., 2020). However, improving the quality of their feed typically requires more inputs, which could lead to greater emissions related to growing more feed. Additionally, farmers may be incentivized to raise even more ruminants if they become more productive. Finally, decreased costs from improved productivity could increase consumer demand.


Decreased meat production in India could increase emissions elsewhere.

India exports much of its cattle meat to other countries. Therefore, it is plausible that decreasing cattle production in India could lead to a “rebound effect” where other countries produce more meat to fill a gap in supply. Under this effect, emissions could either increase, decrease, or stay the same depending on the cattle’s emission intensity, which varies with the quality of their feed and health.


Cost-effectiveness

We attempted to conduct a back-of-the-envelope calculation (BOTEC) of FIAPO’s cost-effectiveness, but did not find it informative because its effect on emissions is complex, multidirectional, and highly uncertain. For example, we were unsure how to estimate FIAPO’s potential effect on reduced cattle meat exports, as well as what effect that may have on emissions.


How strong is the organization, and what are their risks?

FIAPO is composed of over 174 member organizations and over 1000 activists (Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, 2020). As of November 2021, it had 38 staff members and 268 volunteers (Animal Charity Evaluators, 2021). We have not found significant risks associated with FIAPO’s organization.


What is their financial need?

ACE recommended FIAPO as a Standout Charity in 2019 for its contributions to improving animal welfare (Adleberg, 2019). In November 2021, ACE assessed that FIAPO could effectively absorb at least an additional $1M per year. It would use this funding to “[pursue] investigations, litigation and policy reform; [set] up a legal cell to offer support to FIAPO members; [develop] a project to build the capacity of state-level SPCAs.” ACE said that FIAPO may be able to absorb about $2.1M of additional funding in 2022 and $2.1M in 2023. FIAPO's projected budget for 2022 and 2023 are about $1.2M and $1.5M, respectively (Animal Charity Evaluators, n.d.).


Our take

We are unsure whether FIAPO’s work is a promising lever to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Decreasing cattle meat consumption in India may not be a cost-effective lever to reduce emissions, and some of FIAPO’s other activities could increase emissions. Given that donations to FIAPO are unrestricted, donors cannot direct their money towards a particular area of work. Additionally, we are concerned that reduced cattle meat production in India could have a rebound effect and cause other countries to increase production to meet demand. We could change our minds and investigate FIAPO further if the rebound effect is less significant than we expect and if FIAPO’s suite of activities changes and includes more emissions-reducing activities.


Endnotes

[1] We focused our report on beef rather than dairy production because beef has a larger carbon footprint than dairy. Furthermore, reducing dairy production may be less tractable than decreasing beef consumption in India because milk and its products are used for religious purposes in Hinduism (Yirmiyan, 2015). We did not investigate FIAPO’s work on chickens, companion animals, and animals used for entertainment because improving their welfare may not be a high leverage opportunity for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


[2] Much of India’s cattle production is buffalo meat because India’s federal government bans the sale of cows for slaughter.


Works cited



[ Back to top ]



 

New Harvest

Last updated: 2022-08-22


Who are they and what do they do?


Overview

New Harvest is a nonprofit research institute founded in 2004 that advances open research into cellular agriculture, including cultured meat and dairy products. It funds research in cellular agriculture and convenes stakeholders. It also conducts public and media outreach. It is among the very few nonprofits that advocate for cellular agriculture. New Harvest conducts work in the US, Canada, and the Netherlands.


Catalytic research grants

According to New Harvest, funders have historically neglected research into cellular agriculture because as an interdisciplinary discipline, it does not fit neatly into many traditional funding agencies’ research priorities. New Harvest funds early-stage research, which could be catalytic if it helps researchers collect initial data and be better positioned when applying for larger subsequent grants from other sources. New Harvest’s fellowship program also develops a pipeline of talent for companies working on cellular agriculture. Building a talent pool fills a capacity gap because it has been challenging for some cellular agriculture companies to recruit employees with the niche technical skills that they require (Aronoff, 2021).


Community alignment

New Harvest creates bridges between its research fellows, industry, government, and philanthropy. For example, it facilitates group meetings between its research fellows and runs a yearly conference.[1] By aligning stakeholders, New Harvest aims to identify unmet needs and encourage collaboration.


Emphasis on research transparency

New Harvest defaults to open access in its work to encourage transparency in cellular agriculture. Its intellectual property, including its research and images, is free to use and distribute. For example, an ongoing project for New Harvest is its open-source bioreactor, which is meant to enhance global access to cellular agriculture. New Harvest’s openness is intended to create new norms in cellular agriculture and could accelerate research by lowering barriers to information.


Public engagement

New Harvest’s work on public engagement includes its podcast series, active social media outlets, and various talks (e.g., a TED Talk on cultured meat that has more than 2M views as of July 2022).


What have they accomplished or claim to have accomplished?

New Harvest’s history of accomplishments includes the following:


  • Research grants and programming – New Harvest disbursed 46 grants to 31 universities, totaling $3.2M in research funding (New Harvest, 2022b). It estimates that this funding helped researchers secure a further $17M in follow-up grants from nonprofits and government agencies.

  • Community development – New Harvest has helped launch two companies: Perfect Day and The EVERY Company (New Harvest, 2022b).

  • Policy engagement – In 2020, New Harvest worked with the National Engineering Biology Steering Committee and consulted with Ontario Genomics to develop a report on cellular agriculture in Canada (Ontario Genomics, 2021). This report gave the Canadian government instructions on capitalizing on cellular agriculture. New Harvest has also worked with 50 cellular agriculture companies to create a peer-reviewed article on food safety considerations in producing cell-cultured meat (Ong et al., 2021). This article is intended to inform the US Food and Drug Administration on research priorities within cellular agriculture.


What potential do they have for impact?


Climate benefits of cultured meat

New Harvest could positively impact the climate by reducing demand for conventional livestock products, especially beef and dairy. Namely, displacing conventional livestock products with cellular agriculture could curb food sector emissions by lowering direct emissions from cattle and reducing deforestation and land-use change related to animal agriculture. Additionally, farmers could potentially use some of the land they would have used for animal agriculture for carbon sequestration instead (Hayek et al., 2021). We focus this section on cultured meat over cultured dairy products and eggs because beef has a larger carbon footprint than dairy and eggs.[2]


Uncertainties on cultured meat’s ability to reduce emissions

Cultured meat will not necessarily have a positive climate impact. Uncertainties on cultured meat’s ability to reduce emissions include the following:


  • Whether people produce cultured meat with clean or dirty energy sources – Cultured meat production is highly energy-intensive because it must replicate the biotic processes inside of animals (e.g., disease prevention, temperature regulation, nutrient delivery) at an industrial scale in bioreactors. Unless lower-carbon energy sources power cultured meat production, it will lead to carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere.[3]

  • Whether cultured meat can be produced cost-effectively at scale – Cultured meat production’s ability to scale is unclear because it faces significant technical challenges, such as the high cost of producing growth factors, shortcomings in existing bioreactor designs, and the risk of contamination (Fassler, 2021; Humbird, 2021).

  • Whether people will substitute conventional meat with cultured meat – Cultured meat’s acceptability and ability to displace conventional meat are open questions. Consumers may view cultured meat as inferior to conventional meat, unnatural, or unsafe, especially if campaigns by meat companies and interest groups reinforce this view.

  • What foods people will substitute with cultured meat – Some livestock products are more highly-emitting than others. If people substitute conventional beef with cultured meat, emissions would likely decrease. However, this may not be true if consumers replace conventional chicken with cultured meat.


As one of the few players in cultured meat, New Harvest has probably advanced cultured meat’s development timeline. However, New Harvest’s impact on climate emissions is currently uncertain, since it remains unclear whether cultured meat will transform industrial agriculture.


Cost-effectiveness

As a rough plausibility check, we developed a back-of-the-envelope calculation (BOTEC) to estimate New Harvest’s cost-effectiveness (in terms of dollars per metric ton of CO2-equivalent reduced/avoided). This BOTEC includes highly subjective guess parameters and should not be taken literally. In particular, we guessed cultured meat production between 2025 and 2029, how much of the cultured meat would substitute for conventional beef, how many tons of CO2-equivalent each ton of cultivated meat would reduce, and the impact that funding one year of New Harvest’s operations would have on the timeline of at-scale cultured meat production.[4]


We tested a range of emission scenarios based on different estimates for conventional beef and cultured meat emissions (Lynch & Pierrehumbert, 2019; Poore & Nemecek, 2018).[5] Overall, we guess New Harvest could plausibly be within the range of cost-effectiveness we would consider for a top recommendation.[6] However, given the number of guesses in our BOTEC, we have low confidence in the ability of our BOTEC to estimate New Harvest’s cost-effectiveness.[7]


How strong is the organization, and what are their risks?

As of July 2022, New Harvest has seven staff members, including full-time and part-time employees and contractors (New Harvest, 2022c). Overall, we do not see any major organizational risks at New Harvest.


What is their financial need?

In 2021, Animal Charity Evaluators recommended New Harvest as a Standout Charity for its potential for improving animal welfare (Animal Charity Evaluators, 2021).


As of July 2022, New Harvest has an operating budget of $2.6M and a fundraising goal of $2.3M. It will operate at a deficit in 2022, but expects that its financial position may be better in 2023 because it will give out less grant money then. New Harvest has set a goal of raising $18.5M between 2022 and 2025 (New Harvest, 2022a). It would spend $10.1M on advancing open research, $3.4M on fostering policy engagement, $3.1M on community alignment, and $1.9M on sustaining organizational growth.


Our take

Because New Harvest focuses only on cellular agriculture, its long-term climate impact will depend on whether this technology becomes cost-effective at scale by using zero-carbon energy and displacing demand for conventional livestock products. We have deprioritized our investigation into New Harvest because we think the expected probability of this happening is low enough that organizations focused exclusively on cellular agriculture are likely not the most cost-effective funding opportunities. We may reopen our investigation into New Harvest if we become aware of promising evidence that cultured meat production can reach high production volumes within the next few decades and if there is substantial demand for cultured meat.


Endnotes

[1] New Harvest estimated that 250 people attended its 2022 conference in-person and that a further 200 to 300 people attended the virtual version of the conference.


[2] Beef has a carbon footprint of about 100 kg of CO2eq per kg of beef. In comparison, cheese has a carbon footprint of about 24 kg of CO2eq per kg of cheese. Eggs emit about 5 kg of CO2eq per kg of eggs (Poore & Nemecek, 2018; Ritchie & Roser, 2020).


[3] We have not heard of cultured meat companies that have committed to using low-carbon power. Additionally, New Harvest does not track climate-related metrics.


[4] Our model used CO2-equivalent to estimate emissions instead of evaluating the warming effects of different types of greenhouse gases over time. According to Lynch and Pierrehumbert (2019), cultured meat may have lower emissions than conventional meat over the short term, but this gap will likely narrow over the long term due to CO2 from cultured meat production accumulating in the atmosphere. However, this analysis relies on the assumptions that cultured meat production will use the same energy production methods that we currently rely on and that this will continue to be true for 1,000 years (Samuel, 2019). Both assumptions seem unlikely to be true.


[5] There is uncertainty on emissions from cultured meat production because it is still in its early stages of development.


[6] As a heuristic to guide our research prioritization, we consider something to plausibly be within the range of cost-effectiveness we would consider for a top recommendation if its BOTEC-estimated cost-effectiveness is within an order of magnitude of $1/tCO2e (i.e., less than $10/tCO2e).


[7] We describe our confidence as low/medium/high to increase readability and avoid false precision. Since these terms can be interpreted differently, we use rough heuristics to define them as percentage likelihoods our takeaway (i.e., [not] plausibly within the range of cost-effectiveness we would consider recommending) is correct. Low = 0-50%, medium = 50-75%, high = 75-100%.



Works cited

  • Animal Charity Evaluators. (2021, November). New Harvest Review. Animal Charity Evaluators. https://animalcharityevaluators.org/charity-review/new-harvest/

  • Aronoff, K. (2021, September 29). Lab to Table. The New Republic. https://newrepublic.com/article/163554/lab-meat-save-planet

  • Fassler, J. (2021, September 22). Lab-grown meat is supposed to be inevitable. The science tells a different story. The Counter. https://thecounter.org/lab-grown-cultivated-meat-cost-at-scale/

  • Hayek, M. N., Harwatt, H., Ripple, W. J., & Mueller, N. D. (2021). The carbon opportunity cost of animal-sourced food production on land. Nature Sustainability, 4(1), 21–24. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-020-00603-4

  • Humbird, D. (2021). Scale-up economics for cultured meat. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 118(8), 3239–3250. https://doi.org/10.1002/bit.27848

  • Lynch, J., & Pierrehumbert, R. (2019). Climate Impacts of Cultured Meat and Beef Cattle. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 3. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsufs.2019.00005

  • New Harvest. (2022a). Cellular Agriculture for the Public Good. New Harvest. https://new-harvest.org/app/uploads/2022/06/2022Campaign_NewHarvest-1.pdf

  • New Harvest. (2022b). History. New Harvest. https://new-harvest.org/history/

  • New Harvest. (2022c). People [New Harvest]. https://new-harvest.org/people/

  • Ong, K. J., Johnston, J., Datar, I., Sewalt, V., Holmes, D., & Shatkin, J. A. (2021). Food safety considerations and research priorities for the cultured meat and seafood industry. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 20(6), 5421–5448. https://doi.org/10.1111/1541-4337.12853

  • Ontario Genomics. (2021). Cellular Agriculture: Canada’s $12.5 Billion Opportunity in Food Innovation. https://www.candesyne.ca/cellular-agriculture

  • Poore, J., & Nemecek, T. (2018). Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science, 360(6392), 987–992. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaq0216

  • Ritchie, H., & Roser, M. (2020). Environmental Impacts of Food Production. Our World in Data. https://ourworldindata.org/environmental-impacts-of-food

  • Samuel, S. (2019, February 22). Is lab-grown meat actually worse for the environment? Vox. https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/2/22/18235189/lab-grown-meat-cultured-environment-climate-change



[ Back to top ]



 


Plant Based Foods Institute

Last updated: 2022-08-22


Who are they and what do they do?


Background

The Plant Based Foods Institute (PBFI) is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm of the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), the first and only trade association representing over 300 US plant-based food companies and affiliates.[1] PBFI, which was launched in 2022, conducts research and creates opportunities for plant-based food companies and US farmers.[2] PBFA can use its funds to support PBFI, but PBFI funds cannot be used the other way around.


As Giving Green is part of IDinsight, which is itself a charitable, tax-exempt organization, we are only offering an opinion on the charitable activities of PBFI, and not on PBFA.


Research on plant-based foods


Domestic Sourcing Initiative

According to PBFI, the organization “[identifies] gaps in research to illuminate and prioritize partnerships and strategies needed to drive change towards a plant-based food system” (PBFI, n.d.) A direct outcome of this work has been its Domestic Sourcing Initiative, which encourages US plant-based food companies to source domestically-grown ingredients. PBFA’s work in 2020, which feeds into PBFI’s Domestic Sourcing Initiative, included identifying and mapping key ingredients used in plant-based foods and learning where companies are having issues with sourcing their inputs (PBFA, 2020). PBFI is working on identifying state and federal policy levers that could support this initiative.


Life-cycle assessments of plant-based foods

Life-cycle assessments (LCAs) evaluate the environmental impact of a product from development to disposal. Although there are existing LCAs of plant-based foods, these have almost exclusively been commissioned by their producers. According to PBFI, there is a need for a third party to conduct an LCA across different plant-based products. PBFI is working on producing an LCA across seven categories of products and will measure ecologic, environmental, and economic metrics. PBFI’s research is meant to inform work related to helping companies set and achieve Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) targets. In particular, PBFI will work with major corporate buyers, such as Kroger and Walmart, to include plant-based foods as part of their ESG goals. For example, PBFI will assist companies in measuring their environmental impact and advocate for offsetting animal-based products with plant-based products.


Creating opportunities for plant-based food companies and farmers

PBFI has developed several strategies to better position the plant-based food industry. These strategies include but are not limited to the following:


  • Advocating for plant-based foods through policy – PBFI advocates for policies that promote plant-based diets. One of its objectives for 2022 to 2024 is to influence the US government’s updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which will be updated in 2025.

  • Increasing access to plant-based foods – PBFI plans on increasing the availability of plant-based foods in institutional and commercial settings, such as schools and hospitals. It plans to do so by helping companies identify opportunities and navigate potential challenges. PBFI will work with its membership to identify products that are available for distribution, and in what region and volume. It plans on creating a product database and distribution pipeline.

  • Building an international ecosystem for plant-based food companies – PBFI plans to make its work international by collaborating with similar organizations elsewhere in the world. Its International Plant-Based Foods Working Group currently includes trade associations and other convening bodies from eight countries.


What have they accomplished or claim to have accomplished?

As a newly launched organization, PBFI is still in the initial stages of developing its model and implementing its programs. We look forward to reviewing its accomplishments in the future when the organization is more established.


What potential do they have for impact?

PBFI’s work could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by shifting some of America’s meat consumption to plant-based meats. We describe several possible levers below:


  • Domestic Sourcing Initiative – It is possible that PBFI’s Domestic Sourcing Initiative could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or allow the industry to substantially increase in competitiveness and scale if there were a major ingredient supply issue that is not being addressed by the private sector. However, we are unsure whether this is the case. This is not an objective of the Domestic Sourcing Initiative, and we do not believe this is an issue.

  • LCA research and setting ESG targets – PBFI’s work on setting ESG targets could be promising if major corporate clients actually made these changes and if there were no leakage. For example, leakage could occur if a customer visits a Kroger grocery store that has replaced animal-based products with plant-based products and simply purchases animal-based products from a Safeway grocery store instead.

  • Increasing the availability of plant-based products in institutional settings – Revisions to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans could result in increased plant-based food purchases and reduced meat purchases by any government or corporation that follows dietary guidelines when making food purchases (e.g., school lunches).


Cost-effectiveness

As a rough plausibility check, we developed a back-of-the-envelope calculation (BOTEC) to estimate the cost-effectiveness of PBFI (in terms of dollars per metric ton of CO2-equivalent reduced/avoided). This BOTEC includes highly subjective guess parameters and should not be taken literally. In particular, we guessed PBFI’s budget from 2022 to 2024, a target number of meat consumers, the impact of plant-based meat on reducing meat consumption, and how much of that reduced meat consumption could be attributed to PBFI. Additionally, we did not analyze the possibility of donations to PBFI reducing donations to PBFA, and what impact that would have on overall emissions. Overall, we guess PBFI could plausibly be within the range of cost-effectiveness we would consider for a top recommendation.[3] However, given the number of guesses in our BOTEC, we have low confidence in the ability of our BOTEC to estimate PBFI’s cost-effectiveness.[4]


How strong is the organization, and what are their risks?

As of July 2022, PBFI currently has twelve employees, including two consultants (PBFI, n.d.). All of PBFI’s employees also work at PBFA (PBFA, n.d.). PBFI is also working on developing a board and governance structure that is more independent from PBFA.[5] Overall, we do not see any major organizational risks at PBFI.


What is their financial need?

PBFA’s 2022 budget is $2.3M while PBFI’s budget is $1.2M. PBFA’s revenue is roughly half membership dues and half donations. PBFI’s budget is entirely reliant on major gifts. PBFI would like to have a budget of $5.3M across its two entities by the end of 2024. It seems likely that PBFI has room for more funding in the future.


The Open Philanthropy Project has previously funded PBFA as part of its farm animal welfare focus area (Open Philanthropy, 2021). This includes a two-year grant made in September 2021 of $3.5M to provide general support.


Our take

We have deprioritized further investigation into PBFI because as a newly-launched organization, PBFI is still in the early stages of setting up its work and therefore, we have limited information on how well PBFI can carry out its mission. We may reinvestigate PBFI in the future when its work becomes more developed and it has a clearer track record of accomplishments. In particular, we view PBFI’s work on increasing the availability of plant-based products in institutional settings as potentially especially promising.


Endnotes

[1] PBFA is a 501(c)(6) organization.


[2] PBFI’s legal structure has been in place since 2018, which is when PBFA created a 501(c)(3) entity under the name PBFA Research and Education Fund. This structure enabled tax deductible donations to PBFA’s mission and its funds were primarily used for research. In its original form, PBFA Research and Education did not have a separate board or set of goals from PBFA.


[3] As a heuristic to guide our research prioritization, we consider something to plausibly be within the range of cost-effectiveness we would consider for a top recommendation if its BOTEC-estimated cost-effectiveness is within an order of magnitude of $1/tCO2e (i.e., less than $10/tCO2e).


[4] We describe our confidence as low/medium/high to increase readability and avoid false precision. Since these terms can be interpreted differently, we use rough heuristics to define them as percentage likelihoods our takeaway (i.e., [not] plausibly within the range of cost-effectiveness we would consider recommending) is correct. Low = 0-50%, medium = 50-75%, high = 75-100%.


[5] The PBFA board consists of seven executives from member companies and the PBFI board will have three members from the PBFA board and four independent board members.


Works cited



[ Back to top ]