FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Global Food and Beverage Executives Call for Action on Climate and Food Security at COP22
As world leaders met at COP22 in Marrakesh today, officials from Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, Danone, Fetzer Vineyards, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Mars Incorporated, New Belgium Brewing Company, Stonyfield, and Unilever released a statement reiterating their strong support for the Paris Climate Agreement and highlighting the critical role agriculture will play in addressing climate change.
The companies were brought together by Ceres BICEP coalition, an advocacy network of companies working with policymakers to pass effective energy and climate legislation.
In today’s statement, the companies declared, “The clock is ticking and it is time to make real and lasting changes to how we do business. As some of the world’s largest food companies, we have the scale to make a difference. We will do our part and we ask that governments and civil society continue to work with us in achieving both food and climate security.”
Last year, these same companies released a letter calling on world leaders to address climate change at COP21, and pledged to boost their companies’ sustainability efforts, to advocate achievable, enforceable science-based carbon reduction targets, and to share their best practices to encourage other companies to join their effort. Each of the companies signing today’s statement also joined a recent letter which urged US elected leaders to allow the United States to continue its commitment to the Paris Agreement.
In this statement, the companies explicitly targeted agricultural issues, noting that “Unchecked, agricultural emissions will outstrip reductions from decarbonizing the economy elsewhere, pushing us beyond the 2-degree Celsius limit. Agriculture-related emissions could take up the entire global greenhouse gas emissions budget by 2050.”
“COP22 has rightfully given agriculture and food security center stage. Now is the time for business, policy makers and civil society to accelerate efforts to reduce the climate impact of agriculture, improve livelihoods and resilience of smallholder farmers, cut in half food loss and waste, and promote better nutrition” added Paul Polman , Chief Executive Officer, Unilever.
“This is an important moment in global political and economic history, and we absolutely must come together to solve the immense challenges facing the planet,” said Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability Officer, Mars Incorporated. “Climate change, water scarcity and deforestation are serious threats to society. It is imperative that global businesses, like Mars, do their part to face down those threats.”
“Danone is a global actor in the food system,” said Emmanuel Faber, Chief Executive Officer, Danone. “Our 100,000 employees interact daily with millions of consumers, and 700,000 people along our supply chain. A major part of Danone’s environmental footprint is from agriculture. Tackling this and other social and environmental challenges in today's global food system requires deep transformation of the food and water cycles. It's part of our responsibility, and a reason why Danone has committed to becoming a zero-net carbon company by 2050. We are now working intensively and collaboratively to reduce our footprint, but also to innovate and invest in carbon-positive solutions and encourage our consumers to adopt a healthy, sustainable diet.”
“The climate commitments made in Paris last year must now be implemented with urgency. Leadership through action is how we make transformative change across our food system. Kellogg Company has helped to improve the livelihoods of 15,000 smallholder farmers, meeting our commitment four years ahead of schedule. And we’ve committed to reduce emissions from our operations by 65 percent and to work with our direct suppliers to help reduce their emissions by 50 percent by 2050. As a global business, we are leading through action to address climate change,” said Diane Holdorf, Chief Sustainability Officer, Kellogg Company.
“General Mills has long been committed to being part of the solution on climate change. We affirm our commitment and encourage world leaders to continue driving global collaboration on this important agreement said Jerry Lynch, Chief Sustainability Officer of General Mills.
“We urge our leaders to act on the climate commitments of the Paris agreement. At Clif Bar, we’ve learned, by experience, that it’s good business to run a green business. We’re working to create a company and supply chain that run on renewable energy, field to final product, creating jobs and growing and making healthy organic food in the process. We ask that government leaders join us and many other leading businesses in the food industry working to address climate change. There’s no time to waste.” Elysa Hammond, Director of Environmental Stewardship, Clif Bar & Company.
Ben & Jerry’s Chief Executive Officer, Jostein Solheim said “As food companies, we have an opportunity and frankly a responsibility to invest in our supply chains to transition our food and agriculture system from being a substantial driver of climate change to becoming a sustainable part of the solution.”
"We are pleased to see regenerative agriculture held up as an important climate solution at COP22,” said Josh Prigge, Director of Regenerative Development, Fetzer Vineyards. “As a leader of regenerative agriculture in the wine industry with some thirty years of sustainable and organic winegrape growing experience, Fetzer Vineyards is well aware of the climate benefits and drought resiliency associated with regenerative agriculture practices, and will do what we can to help communicate this around the world.”