The so-called “creator of the Internet” and former Vice President Al Gore is trying to find new relevance–and fortune–with fake meat.
It starts with the World Resources Institute. WRI, which has received funding from a host of wealthy, radical environmental foundations, conducts studies concerning climate change that often come to panic-inducing conclusions. Gore was on the organization’s Board of Directors, later leaving, but his investment partner David Blood stayed on and even became Co-Chairman of the Board.
David Blood and Al Gore’s connection runs much deeper than WRI. They also co-founded Generation Investment Management. Generation Investment Management is an investment firm that considers sustainability and social and environmental impact. A few years after the group was founded it started getting cozy with the venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins. Gore eventually joined Kleiner Perkins as a senior partner and advisor.
So why does any of this matter?
One of WRI’s latest studies took issue with the current level of meat consumption, with titles such as “Animal-based Foods are More Resource-Intensive than Plant-Based Foods” and “Without Changing Diets, Agriculture Alone Could Produce Enough Emissions to Surpass 1.5°C of Global Warming.” One report recently advocated for Americans to cut their beef consumption by 40% to save the planet—presumably replacing meat with alternatives such as fake meat. If you believe them, they sound pretty damning.
That’s just what Al Gore wants. The largest investor in Beyond Meat, one of the largest meat substitute companies, is Kleiner Perkins—the same company Gore is a senior partner of. This means every time a WRI study influences someone to stop eating beef, Gore is likely to profit.
Al Gore, whose net worth is somewhere between $200 and $300 million dollars, stands to see some serious profit from Kleiner Perkin’s nearly 16% stake in the $9.4 billion company.
It wouldn’t be the first time Al Gore has profited from questionable dealings. When Gore sold Current TV to Al Jazeera for a $70-$100 million payout, the channel only had an average of 42,000 viewers a night—but was reportedly valuable because Gore used his influence to get it carried by every major TV provider.
Fake meat is currently a hot fad, but there’s something about it many people don’t know. Despite calling itself “plant-based,” which imparts a health halo, it actually is an ultra-processed food that can have dozens of ingredients. Will Gore make bank on fake meat?