Brussels (Brussels Morning) A group of investors called on the European Commission on Monday to overhaul its agricultural subsidy programme in order to help fight against climate change, Reuters reports.
The group, headed by the UK-based Legal & General Investment Management (L&G) and the Chatham House think tank, issued its call ahead of the meeting of EU ministers of agriculture, urging the bloc to be more ambitious in its pending overhaul of the subsidy programme.
It proposed changes to the Common Agricultural Policy, stressing the need to align the policy more closely with environmental protection plans in order to attain carbon neutrality by 2050.
The group’s proposals
The group’s recommendations include cutting direct support for production that includes high greenhouse gas emissions such as dairy and red meat.
It stressed that financial support should be proportionate to the cost of efforts aimed at environmental protection and that incentives should be focussed on sustainable agriculture rather than on growth of production irrespective of the environmental effects.
The group also said the EU should make funds available to farmers to help them move away from production which includes high emissions.
Alexander Burr, L&G’s environmental, social, and corporate governance policy lead, stated that “as long-term investors, and stewards of our clients’ assets, we engage with businesses across the food and agriculture sector to help them transition towards a net-zero economy”.
It was therefore of vital importance that policymakers seeking to achieve planned changes were fully supported, he said.
An unnamed EC representative noted that the Commission is committed to overhauling the farming policy with the aim of supporting the bloc’s environmental push. In this regard, the representative noted that its proposals would include a funding boost for sustainable projects such as organic production.
The Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) Initiative, a member of the investors’ group, stated it would be consulting its membership about how to further engage on the issue.
The agriculture sector accounts for approximately 10% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions.