Times Less Emissions

Growing the ingredients for Burcon’s plant-based protein emits 100x less greenhouse gases



Burcon has issued over 290 patents since its founding



Burcon’s production facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes of yellow field peas and canola

The Path to Drawdown: Plant-based Diet

The meat-centric Western diet is responsible for one-fifth of global emissions. Land clearing, fertilizer use, and methane from burping cattle combined take an enormous toll on the environment and the climate. 

Shifting to a diet rich in plants is a demand-side solution that reduces emissions and tends to be healthier. If the world adopted a vegan diet, business-as-usual emissions could be reduced by as much as 70%, and a vegetarian diet could reduce emissions by 63%. On top of this, adopting a plant-based diet could help save $1 trillion in annual health-care costs and lost productivity.

Global dietary preferences based on meat, fish and dairy products are deeply ingrained in Western cultures, as well as in lower-income countries as they develop. Bringing about dietary change requires plant-based options that are widely available, visible, and enticing, including high-quality meat substitutes. 

Project Drawdown estimates that, if 75% of the global population adopts a plant-rich diet by 2050, this dietary change can reduce GHG emissions by up to 91.72 gigatons: 68.32 gigatons from diverted agricultural production, 23.16 gigatons from avoided land conversion, and 0.24 gigatons from sequestration from ecosystem protection.


Burcon NutraScience Corporation (stock ticker: BRCN), together with its subsidiary, develops plant proteins and ingredients for use in the food and beverage industries. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, they develop novel plant-based protein derived from pea, canola, soy, hemp, sunflower seed and more.

BRCN’s Role in Drawdown

Burcan NutraScience Corporation is a pre-revenue company that just completed its first production facility in Manitoba, Canada in December 2020.

The plant-based protein products that are being produced at this facility are wide ranging. These include their various pea, canola, and soy proteins, as well as blends of other plant-derived proteins. These products have applications in sports nutrition beverages, dairy alternative yogurts and cheeses, powdered beverage mixes, coffee creamers, protein bars and crisps, vegetarian and vegan foods, additives in baked goods, dressings, sauces, and meat substitutes.

BRCN: What We Like

We’re excited that growing the ingredients required for Burcon’s plant-based protein products is far more sustainable (p. 14) than raising cattle for beef. It takes six times less water, 49 times less land, and emits 100 times less greenhouse gases.

We’re also encouraged by the commitment by Merit Functional Foods - a joint venture between Burcon and two other companies - to achieve carbon neutrality by 2022 (p. 17).

BRCN: What We Want to See Improve

Achieve Profitability

In May 2019, Burcon and two other companies entered into a partnership (p. 9) to build a new commercial production facility in Manitoba, Canada. The construction of this facility was completed in December 2020. As of today, Burcon has not made revenue from the sale of its products. We eagerly await the scaling of their production to the point of reaching profitability.

Report Sustainability Metrics

We’re on board with Burcon’s claim that their proprietary protein extraction and purification technologies consume much less energy than animal protein production. But we need to see proof. In particular, we’d like to see Burcon’s direct and indirect GHG emissions, energy use by source, and the amount of emissions saved by their products and operations. These metrics should be reported in an annual sustainability report.

Set Clear Emissions Reduction Targets

The next step would be to set science-based targets for reducing emissions and for improving energy efficiency within a precise timetable. These targets, too, should be included in their annual sustainability report.

Other Plant-based diet Stocks in the Climate Index

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