The “Big 10” food and beverage companies — Associated British Foods, Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelez International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever — together emit 263.7 million tons of GHGs, more than Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway combined, an Oxfam report says.
Standing on the Sidelines says these companies are highly vulnerable to climate change but are not doing enough to tackle it. The Big 10 should be capable of cutting their combined emissions by a further 80 million tons by 2020, Oxfam says.
Emissions from Big 10 companies’ operations account for 29.8 million tons. Of their total emissions, about half come from the production of agricultural materials from their supply chains, yet these emissions are not covered by the reduction targets the companies have set, the report says.
Some of the Big 10 companies admit that climate change is already beginning to harm them financially. Unilever says it now loses $415 million a year, while General Mills reported losing 62 days of production in the first fiscal quarter of 2014 alone because of extreme weather conditions that are growing worse because of climate change. Oxfam projects that the price of key products like Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and General Mills’ Kix cereal could spike by up to 44 percent in the next 15 years because of climate change.
The report says Unilever, Coca-Cola, and Nestle are all relatively more assertive in their policies and actions to tackle climate change, though they all still have room for improvement.
Oxfam singles out Kellogg and General Mills as two of the worst on climate and is calling on them to lead the sector towards more responsible policies and practices. Oxfam says they should disclose their agricultural emissions and biggest polluting suppliers, set targets to cut emissions from their supply chains and speak out more to other industries and governments to address climate change.
Earlier this month the UN Global Compact introduced a set of global voluntary sustainable business principles for the food and agriculture sector. The six principles are designed to complement many existing initiatives that advance sustainability in food and agriculture, and serve as an umbrella over voluntary standards and technical compliance platforms.