To celebrate reaching over 600+ companies committing to bold climate action, via the We Mean Business coalition’s Take Action campaign, we spoke to three leaders at Climate Week NYC about how their companies were stepping up to the challenge.
Dr Mehmood Khan, Vice Chairman & Chief Scientific Officer of Global Research and Development, discussed the three main reasons the food and beverage giant is taking action:
“There are lots of reasons we should be looking at climate change. First of all, food and beverage and agriculture combined as an industry have the single largest footprint impact on climate change… 70% of greenhouse gasses come from the production and distribution of food.”
“The second is our consumers are increasingly asking for it around the world. And the third is if you want to sustain the growth of your business as we look to the future, the access to natural resources, water, land, and the ability to grow food is going to be critical to sustain our growth. It’s going to be right for business.”
“We’re looking at our end to end system; we’re looking at how we’re impacting greenhouse gas in production, packaging, water, in our own facilities, in the way we design our products, the way we manufacture and distribute.”
“But also from all the way up on the farm. We’re talking to farmers that grow our produce and how they’re growing, what their practices are and how we can help them with that. With our suppliers and ultimately partnering with retailers and into the shop and with the consumer into their home. All the way through.”
PepsiCo has committed to working to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions across its value chain (scopes 1, 2 and 3) by at least 20% by 2030, from a 2015 base-year, via the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The SBTi is a collaboration between CDP, World Resources Institute, the World Wide Fund for Nature and the United Nations Global Compact.
PepsiCo is also part of the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi), led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Kevin Rabinovitch, Global Sustainability Director at Mars, discussed how the company is using science-based targets to help drive its low-carbon transition and why taking action on climate is important:
“Mars have been involved with science-based targets since 2009, so when we originally made our commitments on our direct operations we started with the information that was available in IPCC AR4 (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report). Since then the science-based targets initiative has been developed and we’ve been very happy to be part of helping that come together.”
“Just this week we have had approved our full value-chain (Scope 1, 2 and 3) targets under the Science Based Targets initiative of 27% GHG absolute emissions by 2025 and 67% by 2050, from a 2015 base-year. Within that goal the company commits to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions 40% by 2025 and 100% by 2040.”
“We really see a lot of value in science-based targets in driving activities within our business, because of the motivational benefit they deliver.”
“People that work at Mars and associates of Mars care about this, they care about their communities and they care about their children’s future. When we can frame the work that we’re trying to do in the context of tackling some of the issues that matter to them, not just at work but in their personal lives, it really drives a sense of engagement and motivation.”
“This makes people more creative, more excited and they work harder – and they find better ideas which then helps us do a better job of delivering. So they’re more excited and we’re more successful, all driven by a science-based target.”
Kathleen McLaughlin, Senior Vice President & Chief Sustainability Officer at Walmart, explained by the world’s largest retailer is taking action and how it intends to cut scope 3 emissions by 1 gigaton.
“Walmart is taking action on climate for a couple of reasons. One is our customers, they care about this issue and it’s important to them. It’s affecting people now, it’s going to affect people in the future.”
“And second is business reasons, even in addition to serving our customers. Cost reduction, supply security, risk management, that’s why we’re doing it.”
“Walmart was the first retailer to have an approved science-based target for emissions reduction. It’s something we worked really hard on and we’re very excited about. It was really important for us to do that for a couple of reasons. One is just what’s the number that we actually have to work toward to make a difference, to do our part to stay within the 2 degree world?”
“Second it provided a very helpful frame for our internal capital plan and operating expense plan. We have a project portfolio for our scope one and scope two emissions that gets us to those targets over time and the projects are all ROI positive. We had to go before our capital committee and get that approval, which they gave us, they were excited about it.”
“So those targets really helped us frame that. And it also helped us with our scope three. We worked out the math that it’s roughly a gigaton to do our part in scope three with suppliers. So it allowed us to create our project gigaton to entice our suppliers to work with us on emission reduction and we’re really excited about that initiative.”
Walmart has committed to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions 18% by 2025, from 2015 levels, as its science-based target. Walmart will also work to reduce CO2e emissions from upstream and downstream scope 3 sources by 1 billion tons between 2015 and 2030. Walmart has also committed to RE100, LCTPi and reporting climate change information.