One of the key figures behind the Paris Climate Agreement, Costa Rican diplomat Christiana Figueres, just joined the board of directors at plant-based company Impossible Foods. Figueres previously served as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010 to 2016. After the failed climate conference in 2009 in Copenhagen, Figueres rebuilt the international cooperation that led to the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. “I’ve devoted my career to fighting climate change with optimism and collaboration, and joining the board of Impossible Foods enables me to amplify my lifelong environmental advocacy,” Figueres said. “The company’s innovative and market-driven approach empowers people to be part of the solution to our climate crisis.”
Tackling climate change
Under the new administration this week, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement after the Trump Administration removed the United States from the international collaborative effort to reduce greenhouse emissions and enact climate-friendly policies. Reducing the global reliance on meat and dairy products is one area that world leaders can tackle to meet the climate goals set forth in the agreement as these industries are responsible for 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions according to a 2018 Oxford University study.
In 2016, Impossible Foods launched its plant-based Impossible Burger, which uses 96-percent less land, 87-percent less water, and emits 89-percent less greenhouse gases than conventional beef from cows. Since, Impossible Foods has expanded the reach of its plant-based products to foodservice outlets such as Burger King and White Castle and 17,000 stores such as Walmart and Trader Joe’s in all 50 states—a more than 100 times increase in its retail footprint in 2020 alone. Impossible Foods’ aggressive expansion, combined with Figueres’ decades-long experience in global climate change policy and collaborative diplomacy, brings with it positive climate implications.
“Christiana has tremendous influence as a global leader in the movement to avert catastrophic climate change,” Impossible Foods CEO and Founder Patrick O. Brown said. “We are thrilled to have her guidance as we pursue our essential environmental mission, especially as we accelerate our international expansion. Her experience and insights into working with the global community on climate change solutions will be invaluable in our fight to save the planet.”
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