It isn’t just health that’s at risk from the spread of drug-resistant ‘superbugs’.
Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, when bacteria adapt in response to contact with antibiotics. But the speed of emerging resistance is being accelerated by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics.
Nearly half of all antibiotics in the UK, two-thirds in Europe and 80 per cent in the US are given to livestock. Additionally, antibiotics are largely administered to animals to prevent illness or promote growth rather than to treat disease.
Excessive use of antibiotics in farming, and the corresponding dangers to human health, creates systemic risks across the food, farming and pharmaceutical industries. These include potential costs of regulatory change and reputational damage.
Furthermore, as the momentum for a concerted global effort to address AMR grows, companies risk being caught on the wrong side of the debate, putting profitability before the common good.
Aviva Investors are targeting 40 large food producing and retailing companies with high exposure to antibiotic resistance risks in an effort to encourage better practices.
Find out more from Abigail Herron, Head of Responsible Investment Engagement at Aviva Investors.