Developing New Business Models to Deliver on Planetary Health

Examples: Developing New Business Models to Deliver on Planetary Health:

Case Study:  Beyond Meat

Beyond Meat was founded in 2009 with a plan to create plant-based burgers, sausages, and other meat products directly from plants, indistinguishable in taste and texture from traditional meat products. By 2019 its products were on sale in more than 32,000 grocery stores, restaurants, and other outlets, and the company claimed to have sold more than 25 million of its Beyond Burgers in the period from 2016 to 2018 alone. Up to the time of writing, investors remained positive about the firm’s growth prospects after a series of strong trading updates. Following its initial public offering (IPO) in May 2019, Beyond Meat Inc.’s stock price rose 163% on the first day of trading (the strongest first-day performance in almost two decades), and after briefly exceeding nine times its initial IPO price in July 2019, the stock price appeared to have stabilized at around three times its initial IPO price in December 2019.

Whether or not these valuations prove sustainable for Beyond Meat Inc. itself, industry analysts are almost universally predicting huge growth for the meat alternatives market as a whole, with forecasts of sector revenues by 2030 ranging between $40 billion26 and $140 billion.27 Industrial beef production is the antithesis of planetary health (as described in Chapter 5). Large-scale beef production in feedlots produces large quantities of climatewarming GHGs, mostly in the form of methane from fermenting plant matter in cows’ stomachs.28,29 Excessive use of antibiotics in the industry has been linked to growing antimicrobial resistance,30,31 which presents as risk to human as well as animal health. Feeds such as corn and soy are typically grown in intensive monoculture formations with synthetic pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers. The environmental impacts of the majority of cattle raised outdoors are not necessarily better; extensive grazing of former rangelands has resulted in widespread land degradation and the release of significant volumes of carbon from soils over the course of many decades.28 Nearer the tropics, pristine rainforest has been cleared to make way for pasture or feed crops.28

Beyond Meat (Figure 16.7) aims to address these negative impacts by providing a mass market alternative to conventional meat

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