Over the past 10 years, the World Bank’s private investment arm has sunk more than $1.8 billion into major livestock and factory farming companies across the world.Of the total, $686 million went to dairy companies, with $563 million for pork and $353 million for poultry production.While the IFC says the investments create jobs and reduce poverty, critics contend they harm the environment and concentrate profits into the hands of a small few.The investments come amid calls to reduce meat and dairy consumption to help tackle climate change and deforestation. The World Bank’s private investment arm has channeled more than $1.8 billion into major livestock and factory farming operations across the world over the past decade, despite calls for the global reduction of meat and dairy consumption due to its environmental and health impacts. International Finance Corporation (IFC) data reviewed by Mongabay and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism show that since 2010 the corporation has financed the expansion of major multinational meat and dairy firms across Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. While the World Bank primarily lends directly to governments, the IFC provides funds for private companies in the form of loans, direct equity investments and other financial vehicles. The IFC says by providing capital to the livestock industry, it is stimulating job growth and reducing poverty while meeting greater demand for meat and dairy products in countries where incomes are rising. “IFC has made agribusiness a priority because of its potential for broad development impact and especially strong role in poverty reduction,” the IFC said in an email to Mongabay. But Mongabay’s analysis of the data shows most of the beneficiaries of its livestock investments were large multinational corporations with plans to ramp up industrial-scale animal farming in their countries of operation, and in some cases expand into new markets. Among the projects approved by the IFC is an $85 million loan and equity investment for Brazilian cattle giant Minerva, which has been dogged for years by alleged links to deforestation and associated greenhouse gas emissions in the Amazon and Cerrado. Other major beneficiaries of IFC funding include Ukrainian billionaire Yuriy Kosyuk; Saudi businessmen Prince Sultan bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Kabeer and Abdullah bin Mohammed Noor Rahimi; Chinese venture capital firm CDH Investments; Scandinavian multinational Arla Foods; and New Hope Group, the biggest animal feed producer in China. Livestock production is associated with a litany of environmental and biosecurity risks, including the pollution of waterways, rainforest destruction, and the emergence of new diseases. While according to some estimates global food production capacity must increase by more than half to meet demand by 2050, critics argue that expanding the megafarm model of food production will deepen inequality and damage the environment. “What they’re mainly trying to do is replace the production that’s done by small-scale producers and food systems, and transform or almost steal that market share and impose a corporate industrial system,” said Devlin Kuyek, a researcher with the farmers’ advocacy group GRAIN.