Top US Food and Beverage Companies Scope 3 Emissions Disclosure and Reductions

Food and beverage companies are major emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) across their global operations, and face substantial risks by failing to adequately account for the full range of GHG emissions embedded within their value chains.

During the summer 2018, Ceres conducted an analysis of 50 of the top food and beverage companies that sell value-added, consumer-ready goods processed in the U.S. and Canada. The aim of this work was to deepen our understanding of the extent to which 50 of the top food and beverage companies disclose on scope 3 emissions in their supply chains.

The list of 50 companies in this analysis was adapted with some modifications from Food Processing’s 42nd Annual Top 100 List from 2017, which ranks food and beverage processors based on their sales of value-added, consumer-ready goods processed in the U.S. and Canadian facilities.[1] Of the 50 companies analyzed, 34 (68%) are publicly traded and 16 (32%) are private. Each made at least US$2.3 billion in 2016 food sales.

List of 50 companies included in analysis:

Public

 

Private

  1. Anheuser-Busch InBev
  2. Archer Daniels Midland
  3. Bunge
  4. Campbell Soup Co.
  5. Coca-Cola Co.
  6. Conagra Brands Inc.
  7. Constellation Brands
  8. Danone*
  9. Dean Foods Co.
  10. Dr Pepper Snapple Group
  11. Flowers Foods Inc.
  12. General Mills Inc.
  13. Grupo Bimbo*
  14. Hershey Co.
  15. Hormel Foods Corp.
  16. JBS*
  17. J.M. Smucker Co.
  1. Kellogg Co.
  2. Kraft Heinz Co.
  3. Maple Leaf Foods*
  4. Molson Coors Co.
  5. Mondelēz International
  6. Nestlé*
  7. Pepsi
  8. Pilgrim's Pride
  9. Pinnacle Foods
  10. Post Holdings Inc
  11. Procter & Gamble
  12. Sanderson Farms
  13. Saputo Inc.*
  14. Smithfield Foods Inc.
  15. TreeHouse Foods Inc.
  16. Tyson Foods Inc.
  17. Unilever U.S.

 

  1. American Foods Group LLC
  2. California Dairies Inc.
  3. Cargill Inc.
  4. Dairy Farmers of America
  5. E&J Gallo Winery
  6. Foster Farms LLC
  7. Great Lakes Cheese Co.
  8. Koch Foods Inc.
  9. Lactalis American Group
  10. Land O'Lakes Inc.
  11. Mars Inc.
  12. McCain Foods
  13. National Beef Packing Co.
  14. Perdue Farms Inc
  15. Prairie Farms Dairy Inc.
  16. Rich Products Corp.

* Publicly traded outside of the U.S.


Ceres analyzed GHG emissions data from company-submitted 2017 Climate Disclosure Project (CDP) Climate Change and/or Supply Chain reports, largely corresponding to company activity during the 2016 calendar year, as well as other publicly available information listed on company websites and company sustainability reports.

The research demonstrates that this set of companies falls short on GHG emissions disclosure and management, and offers a suite of targeted opportunities to engage companies on improved GHG reporting and mitigation action.

Who is Disclosing on Emissions?

Of the 50 companies included in this analysis, 16 (32%) do not publicly disclose on company-specific GHG emissions at all.

Who is Disclosing on the full range of Scope 3 Emissions?

Of those remaining 34 companies that do publicly disclose on company-specific GHG emissions, 26 report on full scope (1+2+3) emissions. However, only 15 of these 26 companies report on full scope (1+2+3) emissions inclusive of scope 3 “purchased goods and services” (this “purchased goods and services” sub-category includes emissions from upstream agriculture) (Table 2).

Table 2: Companies that report on scope 3 emissions

Coca-Cola Co.

Danone

General Mills Inc.

Kellogg

Mars Inc.

Nestlé

PepsiCo.

Unilever U.S.

Anheuser-Busch

Archer Daniels Midland

Dean Foods Co.

Kraft Heinz Co.

Molson Coors Co.

Mondelēz International

Procter & Gamble


Among those companies reporting on scope 3 emissions from purchased goods and services, total scope 3 emissions constituted on average 86% of total reported company emissions (scopes 1+2+3). On average, scope 1 emissions accounted for 9% of company emissions and scope 2 emissions accounted for the remaining 5% of company emissions.

What Do Company Emissions Disclosures Reveal About the Magnitude of Scope 3 Emissions?

Reported scope 3 emissions from these companies in 2016[2] totaled roughly 629.9 million tonnes CO2e, equivalent in magnitude to CO2 emissions from 70.9 billion gallons of gasoline consumed or annual CO2 emissions from 156 coal-fired power plants.[3]

Who is Including Scope 3 Emissions in their Climate Mitigation Targets?

Of the 50 companies analyzed, 30 have active, company-specific GHG emissions reduction targets. Of these 30, only 8 have explicit targets to reduce scope 3 emissions (versus solely scope 1+2).

Table 3: Companies that report on scope 3 emissions and
have explicit targets to reduce scope 3 emissions

Coca-Cola Co.

Reduce scope 1+2+3 emissions 25% by 2020 from base year of 2010, focusing on ingredients, packaging, manufacturing, distribution, refrigeration.

Danone

Achieve zero net GHG emissions across full value chain (1+2+3) by 2050

General Mills Inc.

Reduce absolute GHG emissions across full value chain (scope 1+2+3) by 28% by 2025 from base year 2010.

Kellogg

Reduce Scope 3 emissions by 50% by 2050 from base year 2015

Mars Inc.

Reduce Scope 1+2+3 emissions by 27% by 2025, and by 67% by 2050, from base year 2015.

Nestlé

Reduce scope 3 emissions by 8% by 2020 from base year 2014.

PepsiCo.

Reduce Scope 3 emissions by 20% by 2030 from base year 2015.

Unilever U.S.

Reduce Scope 1+2+3 emissions by 50% by 2030 from base year 2010.


Overall, this analysis reveals the disproportionately high contribution of scope 3 emissions to the total emissions of food and beverage companies, and an outsize opportunity for effective climate risk management that, to-date, the top food and beverage companies have largely been failing to address. Other supply chain emissions analyses corroborate the large contribution of scope 3 emissions to the broader company or sectoral emissions picture; across all economic sectors in the U.S., scope 3 emissions are estimated to account for 74% of total emissions,[4] while, for companies operating in the food and beverage sector, an estimated 75-90% of a typical food product’s carbon footprint occurs in the supply chain upstream of the point of sale.[5] The failure of most top food and beverage companies to adequately monitor, disclose on, and reduce scope 3 emissions from agriculture poses substantial material risk, particularly in light of the growing necessity to assess and address threats and opportunities in exposure to the impacts of climate change, and increasing stakeholder demand for greater corporate transparency on ESG principles.


For information on how companies can better measure and manage GHG emissions, please download our resource: Measure the Chain: Tools for Assessing GHG Emissions in Agricultural Supply Chains.

 

[1] Fusaro, D. 2017. Top 100 Food and Beverage Companies for 2017: A Mixed Bag of Results. Food Processing. https://www.foodprocessing.com/articles/2017/top-food-companies/?show=all.

[2] Most but not all companies reported on emissions referring to the 2016 calendar year.

[3] Emissions equivalencies derived from US EPA. 2017. Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator.

[4] Matthews, H.S., et al. 2008. The Importance of Carbon Footprint Estimation Boundaries. Environmental Science and Technology 42: 5839-5842.

[5] Tidy, M. et al. 2016. The Role of Supplier Relationship Management in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Food Supply Chains: Supplier Engagement in the UK Supermarket Sector. Journal of Cleaner Production 112(4): 3294-3305.