Impossible Foods has won a major environmental award from the United Nations and is urging youth activists to accelerate the global transition to a sustainable food system.
The Silicon Valley food tech startup received the 2019 United Nations Global Climate Action Award, part of the UN’s wider effort to mobilize action and ambition as national governments work toward implementing the goals of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Impossible Foods’ award came in the “Planetary Health” category, which recognizes novel solutions that balance the need for human health and a healthy planet. Later today, Impossible Foods’ CEO and Founder Dr. Patrick O. Brown will accept the award with other winners at the 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) in Madrid, Spain.
COP25 is the year’s most important environmental conference, with more than 25,000 participants from nearly 200 countries and about 50 heads of state. The conference focuses in part on how to reduce the impact of our meat-centric food system, including the depletion of freshwater, emissions of toxic greenhouse gases and biodiversity collapse.
Later today at COP25, the UN will host an event with Impossible Foods and youth activists. The focus is environmental accountability and is titled, “What do we owe future generations?” The event is open to all COP25 participants (including registered media) at 13:00 CT today in the COP25 Blue Zone Auditorium.
The scientific community is quickly realizing that shifting to a plant-based diet is a simple, realistic solution to the existential threat of global climate change – not merely a way to significantly reduce ongoing GHG emissions but a realistic chance to turn back the clock on climate change.
Raising animals for food overwhelmingly dominates the humanity’s land footprint. All the buildings, roads and paved surfaces in the world occupy less than 1% of Earth’s land surface, while 45% of the land surface of Earth is currently in use as land for grazing or growing feed crops for livestock. The global demand for meat, fish and dairy foods is a primary driver of the catastrophic collapse in diverse wildlife populations and ecosystems on land and in oceans, rivers and lakes.
“Unless we act quickly to reduce or eliminate the use of animals in the food system, we are racing toward ecological disaster,” said Impossible Foods’ CEO and Founder Dr. Patrick O. Brown. “But I’m hopeful because younger generations are quickly discovering that ‘meat is heat,’ and they are uniquely poised to turn us away from the brink of catastrophe.”
In 2019, more than 3 million young activists have taken to the streets to demand environmental accountability. For more information about young people and their shift toward a plant-based diet, please read Impossible Foods’ Generational Trends Insights Report.
Big taste, small footprint
Based in Redwood City, Calif., Impossible Foods uses modern science and technology to create delicious food, restore natural ecosystems and feed a growing population sustainably. The company makes meat from plants — with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals.
The flagship product, Impossible Burger, is available in more than 17,000 restaurants in the United States, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.
To satisfy the global demand for meat at a fraction of the environmental impact, Impossible Foods developed a far more sustainable, scalable and affordable way to make meat, without the catastrophic environmental impact of livestock.
Shortly after its founding in 2011, Impossible Foods’ scientists discovered that one molecule — “heme” — is primarily responsible for the explosion of flavors that result when meat is cooked. Impossible Foods’ scientists genetically engineer and ferment yeast to produce a heme protein naturally found in plants, called soy leghemoglobin.
The heme in Impossible products is identical to the essential heme humans have been consuming for hundreds of thousands of years in meat — and while Impossible products deliver all the craveable depth of animal meats, the plant-based innovations require far fewer resources because they’re made from plants.