Australians who enjoy a bowl of Cornflakes in the morning may be shocked to learn that Kellogg’s is among the worst performing of ten major food and drink companies when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, Oxfam Australia said today.
The report, Standing on the Sidelines – why food and beverage companies must do more to tackle climate change,
calls on the ‘laggards’ of the food and beverage industry, Kellogg’s
and General Mills (Old El Paso, Latina pasta), to up their game on
reducing emissions within their supply chain, along with the rest of the
top 10 food and beverage companies.
Oxfam Australia’s food policy specialist Kelly Dent said that the top
ten food and beverage companies together emitted more greenhouse gases
than Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway combined.
“If they were a single country, they would be the 25th most polluting country in the world,” Ms Dent said.
“The ‘Big 10’ companies could cut their emissions by 80 million
tonnes by 2020 – when global emissions need to start reducing in order
for the world to stay within a safe climate – which would be the
equivalent to taking all Australian cars off the road.”
The global food system – including sources from production of
agricultural inputs like fertiliser, to emissions from agricultural
production, refrigeration and transport – accounts for about 25 – 27 per
cent of global emissions.
The ‘Big 10’ companies are Associated British Foods, Coca-Cola,
Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Mondelez International, Nestle,
PepsiCo and Unilever. 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
Ms Dent said some of the companies had admitted that climate change was already hurting them financially.
Unilever says it now loses $444 million (US $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 predicts that the price of key products like Kellogg’s Corn
Flakes could rise over the next 15 years – for example, up to 44 per
cent in the UK – because of climate change.
“Too many of today’s food and beverage giants are crossing their
fingers and hoping that climate change won’t disrupt the food system,
imagining someone else will fix it,” Ms Dent said.
Oxfam singled out Kellogg and General Mills as two of the worst on
climate change and is calling on them to put in place more responsible
policies and practices.
“As companies that are deeply exposed to climate impacts, it’s in the
interest of food and beverage companies to see a more ambitious
national and global response. We are therefore urging them to also speak
up for stronger government policies and programs to tackle climate
change,” she said.
Read the report here