“Unless we act quickly to reduce or eliminate the use of animals in the food system, we are racing toward ecological disaster,” said Pat Brown at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on December 16, 2019

Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown has received an award for helping fight climate change from the United Nations.

The plant-based substitutes for meat products startup founded in 2011 was awarded the 2019 United Nations Global Climate Action Award, and Brown, the founder and CEO, was on hand to accept the award at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) in Madrid, Spain.

Impossible Foods, which is yet to enter the retail chain, concentrates on making a plant-based product to replace the beef used in hamburger patties. It makes the Impossible Burger which is available in 500 restaurants and fast food enterprises all over the US and in Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau.

The Impossible Burger was first served at the New York restaurant Momofuku Nishi in July 2016. In April last year, White Castle was serving Impossible Burgers at all its 377 fast food locations. It is also available at franchises Bareburger in New York City, Umami Burger in California, Hopdoddy in Texas, and 33 & Melt in Florida.

In a statement on winning the prize under the “Planetary Health” category at COP25, Brown reiterated Impossible Foods’ launched #MeatisHeat (and #PlantsareCool) campaign.

“Unless we act quickly to reduce or eliminate the use of animals in the food system, we are racing toward ecological disaster,” said 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.”

According to Impossible Foods, the Stanford University biochemist CEO also joined thousands of young people at the summit during an event hosted by Impossible Foods titled “What do we owe future generations?”

“The biggest opportunity to turn back the clock on climate change is to remove the incentive for covering Earth with livestock and their feed crops,” Brown said at the conference. “It’s simple: Just make delicious meat from plants.”

Brown is critical of the beef industry’s contribution to climate change, which he’s stressed has to be undone by sustainably producing more of the Earth’s food from plants. Brown recently said that Impossible Foods wants to “eliminate the economic incentive to keep growing cows all over the Earth,” adding that going up against the livestock industry is a doable challenge.

“I don’t think it requires a huge amount of disruption to reduce their incentives to keep growing cows,” he said.

Impossible Foods has raised US$687.5 million over 12 rounds of funding.

Winners of the UN Global Climate Action Awards

Planetary Health

Impossible Foods: Creating plant-based alternatives to meat.

Alipay Ant Forest: Using digital technologies to scale up climate action.

Ghent en Garde: Creating structural change through local food policy.

Electriciens sans frontières: Providing “emergency pockets” of solar energy to health centres.

Climate Neutral Now

MAX Burgers: Creating the world’s first “Climate Positive” menu.

Natura’s Carbon Neutral Programme: Measuring and reducing emissions across their entire value chain, from the extraction of raw materials through to their distribution.

Apple’s Emissions Reduction Mission: Reducing their emissions through clean energy and innovative product design.

Infosys’ Journey to Carbon Neutrality is one of the first companies of its type to commit to carbon neutrality, while investing in local carbon offsetting projects.

Women for Results

Campaign for Female Education’s Climate-Smart Agriculture Guides: Training young women from marginalized farming communities to become Agriculture Guides.

Mothers Out Front: A movement of over 24,000 mothers mobilising for a liveable climate for their children.

Women’s Action Towards Climate Resilience in South Asia: Empowering women in low-income households to increase their climate resilience.

Eco Wave Power: A world-leading project generating clean energy from the ocean, co-founded and led by a female CEO.

Financing for Climate Friendly Investment

Beyond the Grid Fund: Providing affordable, off-grid clean energy solutions that are quick to deploy.

Women’s Livelihood Bond Series: Unlocking over USD 150 million in capital to empower over two million women in South and Southeast Asia.

Québec’s International Climate Cooperation Program: Issuing climate finance and support to developing countries, funded by the province’s own carbon market.