Practically every government in the world faces challenges when it comes to balancing their budgets, and an increasingly attractive target for revenue creation is a tax on goods deemed to be unhealthy or damaging to the environment or both. For example, over 180 countries now impose a tax on tobacco, 60 jurisdictions tax carbon and at least 25 tax sugar. This report explores whether meat may be the next product on this list. In the global livestock production sector, sustainability megatrends and changing dietary patterns driven by a growing global middle class are creating enormous challenges. Population growth has driven up up global meat consumption by over 500% between 1992 and 2016 and this trajectory is likely to continue in the future, especially in emerging markets. However meeting this growing demand has proven a difficult endeavour for the global livestock industry, and in recent years the sectors has been linked with a range of environmental, health and social problems. Could taxation of meat products be a way to mitigate these global challenges? The pathway to taxation typically starts when there is global consensus that an activity or product harms society. This leads to an assessment of their financial costs to the public, which in turn results in support for some form of additional taxation. Taxes on tobacco, carbon and sugar have followed this playbook.
The Executive Study of the report is available on the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return website.