In early 2022, AgFunderNews published a list of climate-related commitments by agrifood corporates. Our main goal was to help hold these massive companies accountable for not just their environmental footprints but also what they have gone on record saying they’ll do about said footprints.
The original version of the list came on the heels of COP26, where corporate accountability was “declared missing” from the agenda.
Fast-forward to 2023, and the list has since snowballed as corporates feel the pressure from stakeholders and consumers alike to make public commitments around reducing their environmental footprints. As one report from Just Capital, which has been tracking commitments, noted, “This growth in both granularity of commitments and commitments overall occurs as corporate climate action comes under attack among broader backlash against environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies.”
What’s changed since 2022?
Quite a lot has changed since then, and way more than I can fit into a single post.
That said, here are some highlights to chew on about where companies stand with their commitments.
At the start of 2022, the SBTi had 192 commitments from agrifood corporates listed. An additional 348 companies have since been added, or a roughly 65% increase in the amount of food and ag corporates making some kind of commitment.
For one thing, many now question the feasibility of these commitments. For example, a report from Accenture found that a whopping 93% of “the world’s largest companies” will “fail to achieve their goals if they don’t at least double the pace of emissions reduction by 2030.” (The analysis included non-agrifood corporates.)
There are heavily founded concerns in food and beverages, where almost daily we are inundated with labels like “carbon neutral milk,” “climate-friendly beef” and “sustainably grown.” The problem with labels like this is that they often fail to tell the whole story, and the ways in which these sustainability claims are calculated often form one big gordian knot only the most skilled climate experts are qualified to untangle.
As just one example, corporates that claim low carbon or carbon neutral are often relying heavily on offsets rather than doing anything to reduce their own value chain emissions — insetting. The average consumer who’s just after a gallon of milk is unlikely to consider this or even know to do so. Even us journalists and reporters have to do a lot of reading between the lines when companies pitch us these products.
Real examples can be found at this website dedicated to tracking corporate greenwashing, with an entire section devoted to agrifood.
But there’s good news, too. Nestlé, for example, recently said it was moving away from offsets to focus on reducing actual emissions in its supply chain. This means it will be searching for producers who are pursuing carbon sequestering and storing practices to buy their ingredients from, but also importantly producers who are not selling carbon offsets based on their practices.
Companies like Pepsi and General Mills have become increasingly transparent about what they have and haven’t accomplished. It’s small but positive steps like these that will hopefully set the bar higher for everyone else.
How we compiled the companies
As with our last list, we’ve used data from the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), a collaboration between the CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature.
The SBTi database lists thousands of companies that have made some level of commitment to emissions reductions. Roughly 500 of these are in the agrifood sector currently.
From that 500, we’ve narrowed the companies down to those with targets set and approved by SBTi. As SBTi notes on its website, these are targets “in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.”
SBTi asks companies to, at minimum, set targets “that are compatible with the goal of keeping global warming well below 2°C”; the initiative urges companies to go a step further and “aim for targets that align with keeping warming below 1.5°C.”
In other words, 1.5°C is the most ambitious target and in an ideal world every company would commit to it.
For the sake of space, we’ve knocked the list down once more to companies that, in addition to setting 1.5°C targets, have also committed to Net Zero.
It’s also worth noting that, while this list is focused on emissions reductions, there are other factors around corporate sustainability that matter just as much. We’ll explore commitments around regenerative agriculture, conservation and community building in subsequent posts.
|Company Name||Commitment date (published)||Scope 1 & 2 reduction promise||Scope 3 reduction promise|
|🇬🇧 A.G. Barr plc||01/08/2022||60% by FY2030||25% by FY2030|
|🇧🇪 AB InBev||01/03/2018||35% by 2025||25% by 2025|
|🇯🇵 Aeon Co., Ltd.||01/08/2021||46.2% by 2030|
|🇯🇵 Ajinomoto Co., Inc.||01/05/2020||50% by 2030||24% by 2030|
|🇯🇵 Asahi Group Holdings||01/09/2018||50% by 2030||30% by 2030|
|🇨🇱 Avícola Coliumo||01/07/2020||50% by 2030||“measure and reduce” scope 3 emissions.|
|🇫🇷 BEL S.A.||01/04/2022||75.6% by 2035||25% by 2035|
|🇩🇰 BioMar Group||01/03/2023||42% by 2030||30% by 2030|
|🇩🇰 Carlsberg Group||01/06/2017||92% by 2030||30% by 2030|
|🇹🇭 Charoen Pokphand Group Co., Ltd.||01/05/2023||42% by 2030||25% by 2030|
|🇺🇸 Clif Bar & Company||01/12/2020||50% by 2030||50% by 2030|
|🇬🇧 Coca-Cola European Partners||01/12/2020||47% by 2030||29% by 2030|
|🇨🇭 Coca-Cola HBC AG||01/04/2021||55% by 2030||21% by 2030|
|🇬🇧 Diageo Plc||01/09/2021||100% by FY2030||50% by FY2030|
|🇨🇭 Emmi Group||01/03/2021||45% by 2027||25% by 2027|
|🇨🇦 Empire Company Limited and Sobeys Inc.||01/07/2023||55% by 2030||28% by 2030|
|🇸🇪 Foodmark AB||01/02/2022||99.9% by 2026||42% by 2030|
|🇺🇸 General Mills Inc.||01/01/2021||42% by FY2030||30% by FY2030|
|🇬🇧 Greene King Limited||01/02/2023||50% by 2030||50% by 2030|
|🇲🇽 Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV||01/10/2021||50% by 2030 (scope 1)||28% by 2030|
|🇳🇱 HEINEKEN N.V.||01/09/2021||90% by 2030||21% by 2030|
|🇬🇧 Highland Spring Group||01/04/2023||50% by 2030||46.2% by 2030|
|🇬🇧 innocent drinks||01/10/2020||100% by 2030||50% by 2030|
|🇬🇧 J Sainsbury plc||01/11/2020||50% by FY2030||30% by FY2030|
|🇯🇵 Kirin Holdings Co Ltd||01/08/2022||50% by 2030||30% by 2030|
|🇳🇱 Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize N.V.||01/08/2020||50% by 2030||15% by 2030|
|🇧🇷 Marfrig Global Foods S.A.||01/04/2022||68% by 2035||33% by 2035|
|🇺🇸 Mars||01/09/2017||42% by 2025||27% by 2025|
|🇺🇸 McCormick & Company, Incorporated||01/07/2022||42% by FY2030||“from purchased goods and services” by 2030|
|🇳🇴 Mills AS||01/02/2022||92% by 2026||42% by 2030|
|🇺🇸 Molson Coors Brewing Company||01/08/2019||50% by 2025||20% by 2025|
|🇨🇭 Nestlé||01/12/2020||20% by 2025||20% by 2025|
|🇬🇧 Nomad Foods Ltd.d||01/09/2021||25% by 2025||25% by 2025|
|🇳🇴 Orkla ASA||01/08/2022||65% by 2025||30% by 2025|
|🇺🇸 PepsiCo, Inc.||01/01/2021||75% by 2030||40% by 2030|
|🇫🇷 Piper-Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck||01/12/2022||61% by 2030||46% by 2030|
|🇬🇧 Premier Foods PLC||01/06/2023||66.8% by FY2030||25% by FY2030|
|🇫🇷 Rémy Cointreau||01/01/2023||42% by FY2030||25% by FY2030|
|🇬🇧 Sipsmith||01/06/2021||46% by 2030||46% by 2030|
|🇩🇰 Stryhns AS||01/12/2021||93% by 2030||25% by 2030|
|🇯🇵 Suntory Beverage & Food Limited||01/09/2021||50% by FY2030||30% by FY2030|
|🇱🇰 Talawakelle Tea Estates||01/07/2021||50.4% by 2029/30|
|🇬🇧 Tesco||01/06/2017||60% by 2025||17% by 2030|
|🇹🇭 Thai Union Group Public Company Limited||01/06/2023||42% by 2030||42% by 2030|
|🇬🇧 The Co-operative Group Ltd.||01/06/2019||50% by 2025||11% by 2025|
|🇬🇧 The Edrington Group Limited||01/03/2023||50% by FY2030||50% by FY2030|
|🇬🇧 The Southern Co-operative||01/06/2021||50% by 2030||17% by 2030|
|🇨🇱 VIÑA Concha Y Toro||01/12/2019||55% by 2030||55% by 2030|
|🇺🇸 Walmart Inc.||01/11/2016||35% by 2025||“by one billion tonnes” by 2030|