Forty investors managing assets worth $1.25 trillion (approximately Rs 83.3 lakh crore) have urged 16 global food companies to source proteins for their products from plants instead of livestock, Reuters reported on Monday. A letter dated September 23 by the investors – which include insurer Aviva and Swedish state pension funds – have called on these companies to recognise the risks of industrial meat farming and shift to alternate sources of protein.

The letter was addressed to corporations like Nestle, Kraft Heinz and Unilever, said Jeremy Coller, the founder of the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return Initiative, which organised the investor group. Coller said the world’s reliance on “factory farmed livestock” is a “recipe for a financial, social and environmental crisis”. He added that pollution from livestock production is a very high, and that welfare and safety standards are too low. The food industry is not able to cope with the estimated increase in global protein demand, he added.

“Investors want to know if major food companies have a strategy to avoid this protein bubble,” Coller said. The campaign comes after an Oxford University study estimated that the world could save $1.5 trillion (approximately Rs 100 lakh crore) in healthcare and climate costs if it reduced its reliance on meat in their diets.

While Kraft Heinz declined to comment on the matter, a Nestle spokesperson said the company did not use much meat in its products and was focussing on “innovating new products using alternate proteins”.