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New climate commitments from food & agriculture corporates have ballooned. Here’s an updated list

July 20, 2023

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.

Finally and as always, this is not an exhaustive list. Drop me a line or write to me on LinkedIn with your thoughts and suggestions.

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

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