Southeast Asia is home to 680 million people and 20 billion farm animals—twice the human population and seven times more farm animals than the U.S.
But few organizations are working to improve the lives of farm animals or grow the alternative protein sector in the region.
For the past three years, Lever has carried out campaigns, outreach and media efforts across Southeast Asia, leading a number of prominent food brands there to pledge to improve conditions for animals throughout their supply chains. To bolster those efforts, over the past year Lever has expanded its on-ground presence with the addition of several staffers in Malaysia and the Philippines. Both countries share a growing concern for animal welfare, sizable populations, significant Chinese communities, and many food corporate connections into China. They are also hubs for industrial animal agriculture: together they are home to the same number of farm animals as the U.S.
The expansion has already won real progress for animals. In the Philippines Lever’s team successfully persuaded MetroMart, the country’s largest e-commerce food retailer, to stop selling eggs from caged hens by 2025. The company operates similar to Instacart and serves numerous leading retailers in the country; customers of those retailers will no longer be able to order caged eggs through MetroMart’s platform once the commitment goes into effect. The company is the first retailer in the Philippines and the first online grocery platform in Asia to pledge to stop stocking caged eggs. Two of the Philippines’ largest gaming and hotel resort complexes—City of Dreams Manila and Resorts World Manila—also pledged to end the sale of caged eggs within the next several years. In Malaysia Hatten Hotels Worldwide, a subsidiary of one of the country’s largest conglomerates, became the first hospitality group in the country to make a similar pledge. The new policy will cover not just hotels but also restaurants and catering operations across the country and abroad.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s largest cafe chain OldTown White Coffee committed not just to ending cages for laying hens but also to a comprehensive set of improvements for fish, chickens, pigs and cows in its supply chain. Lever has also expanded its alternative protein work to these countries and the rest of Southeast Asia, promoting entrepreneurship and providing critical early-stage funding and general support to new alternative protein startups. As of mid-2022, Lever had completed its first two program-related investments in the region, backing plant-based meat company Meatless Kingdom in Indonesia and plant-based dairy brand MAD Foods in Singapore. The Foundation is also scaling up its social media presence in each country to build public awareness of alternative protein and compassion for farm animals more generally.
This work happened because of the support of people like you. Please consider donating today to build a more humane and sustainable protein supply in Asia.