Effective Altruist - Vegan Innovator - Serial Social Entrepreneur
Sebastian Joy is the Founding President of ProVeg International, an international food awareness organization working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal products with plant-based and cultured alternatives. He also helped kickstart 50by40.org, an international alliance of over 40 NGOs working to reduce the global consumption of animals by 50% by 2040, where he serves as the Executive Chair. In addition, he is Vice President of the European Vegetarian Union, a partner of V-label Ltd., a mentor at Charity Entrepreneurship, and was a lecturer in Nonprofit Management at the Berlin School of Economics and Law for several years.
He currently lives in Berlin with his wife Dr. Melanie Joy.
WHAT DRIVES ME
My primary motivation in life has always been to help make the world a better place – a place with less suffering and better lives for all sentient beings. To this end, I have been inspired and guided by the principles that are now known as effective altruism – the idea that we need to use our resources – time, money, effort, etc. – as effectively as possible in order to create as much good in the world as possible. A key principle of effective altruism is that we should focus on solving problems that are large in scale (affecting many individuals) and relatively neglected by others. The main question for me was for which cause should I use my energy and the short time I have on this planet?
In my early twenties, I came to realize that our current food system, with its heavy focus on animal products, was contributing to many of the world’s most pressing problems, such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, wasted resources, human health issues like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and antimicrobial resistance, food injustice, and animal suffering. At the same time, this problem was not being addressed with nearly the urgency or resources that many other global problems were. After becoming vegan, I sought the answers to two questions: where is the greatest need for work in this space? And how can I best help fill this gap, given my skills and experience? For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to innovate – so becoming an innovator in the plant-based movement seemed like the most logical step.
“There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit.” This famous quote has deeply influenced me. It helped me realize that the most efficient way for me to help change our global food system is to play a pivotal, yet not always visible, role in kick-starting innovative solutions that can make a lasting impact without my continued involvement. So I came to see myself as a serial social entrepreneur. Over the last two decades, I’ve initiated numerous initiatives, organizations, products, campaigns, programs, and events. While not all of these projects have been successful, a few continue to have a positive impact on the world. These last ones are described below on this site.
Sebastian is the Founding President of ProVeg International, a global food awareness organization with the mission to reduce the global consumption of animals by 50% by 2040. ProVeg’s dedicated staff of about 150 people work with companies, governments, public institutions, medical professionals, the media, and the public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and the planet. ProVeg currently has offices in eight countries across four continents in order to find both global and local solutions to a global challenge.