With a global footprint and presence in major food and agricultural supply chains around the globe, Cargill Inc. reported that it continues its commitment to protect the Earth’s vital natural resources and reduce its environmental impact. In alignment with its climate commitment, Cargill has adopted a Scope 3 target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its global supply chains by 30% per ton of product by 2030.
The company said the goal aligns with many of its customers that are driving toward similar climate goals. Cargill has also reinforced its intent to prioritize climate through three recent activities aligned with companies around the globe, including pledging to the CEO climate statement, signing on to the We Are Still In coalition to continue supporting the Paris Climate Accord and convening at the recent U.N. Climate Change Conference COP 25 in Madrid, Spain.
The commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 30% per ton of product from its global supply chain by 2030, in combination with the previously announced operational goal to reduce absolute emissions by 10%, has been approved by the Science Based Target initiative, a collaboration among CDP, the U.N. Global Compact, World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature.
“Without bold and decisive actions by all involved in the production of food, climate change will destabilize the food system,” Cargill chairman and chief executive officer David MacLennan said. “We are determined to innovate, scale and implement solutions together with producers, our customers and governments worldwide. Agriculture is how we will mitigate climate change, regenerate our soils and improve water use while nourishing the world in a more sustainable way.”
Prioritizing climate across Cargill supply chains
To reduce its climate impact, Cargill is focused on targeted supply chain interventions, programming and policy solutions benefiting farmers, customers and the broader food system. These include:
- Accelerating sustainable progress in beef. Cargill is building on the efficiency of the North American beef industry -- which is already 35% more efficient, from a GHG perspective, than the global average -- by establishing programs around grazing management, feed production and food waste reduction. The BeefUp Sustainability initiative aims to achieve a 30% GHG reduction per pound of product produced by 2030. Cargill said it will work hand in hand with farmers, ranchers and innovators across the beef supply chain to accelerate adoption of practices known to improve sustainability outcomes like soil health and carbon storage. As an early step, Cargill is also sponsoring the Yield Lab Institute’s Manure Innovation Challenge. The challenge will guide startups with solutions that capture the value from manure-based nutrients, fiber and energy on an expedited path to market while creating on-farm profitability.
- Advancing soil health. Healthy soil is critical to helping slow climate change. It’s also fundamental to the long-term prosperity of farmers and ranchers. Cargill is ideally positioned to leverage its connectivity and partnerships to help producers implement regenerative agriculture practices that improve soil health — boosting farm productivity and the overall economic resiliency of the farm. As a founding member of the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium, Cargill is supporting the establishment of a market to enable and encourage farmers and ranchers to adopt and sustain conservation management practices to improve soil health, reduce GHG emissions, improve related water quality and reduce water use. Cargill is also equipping farmers with the research and insights needed to understand how investing in soil health can yield financial and economic benefits with the Soil Health Institute.
- Reducing carbon for sustainable shipping. Cargill is committed to leading the maritime industry to a more sustainable future. In 2018, the business reduced gross carbon dioxide emissions by 350,000 tons (4.5%) while maintaining the same level of transport activity. Additionally, Cargill is part of the Global Maritime Forum’s Decarbonization Task Force, working alongside more than 50 industry leaders to move shipping toward a decarbonized future. Cargill is turning its attention to new technologies with long-term potential to fulfill the International Maritime Organization’s ambitious GHG targets and transition the global shipping industry to carbon-neutral by 2050.
- Protecting forests in partnership with farmers: Cargill is actively working to address emissions from land use changes as part of its sustainability strategy. It is also committed to protecting forests in support of the New York Declaration on Forests across key supply chains. For example, in palm, Cargill is committing $3.5 million to a 25-year-long community forest project located in the Nanga Lauk village in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, that enables community members to protect and manage the forest while also obtaining an income from the sustainable use of natural resources. As part of its cocoa and chocolate Protect our Planet Strategic Action Plan and commitment to the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, Cargill’s community-based interventions in Cote d’Ivoire led to the planting of more than 320,000 shade trees, thanks to the engagement of 3,000 farmers across 12 cooperatives between 2018 and 2019. In the South American soy supply chain, Cargill has been committed to the Amazon Soy Moratorium since 2006 and is investing $30 million to find innovative solutions to protect South American forests in ways that are economically viable for farmers.
“We are pleased to see Cargill set an aggressive goal to reduce their Scope 3 value chain greenhouse gas emissions as an addition to their science-based target for their operations,” said Cynthia Cummis, director of private sector climate mitigation at the World Resources Institute. “As a large and influential company in the agriculture sector, Cargill’s actions will positively impact the food industry and help companies further downstream reduce their own emissions. Throughout the target-setting process, Cargill has been a thoughtful and strategic partner who recognizes the critical urgency of addressing climate change.”