Deadline 2030: Slashing Value Chain GHG Emissions by a Third

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report chronicles a “code red for humanity,” according to the UN Secretary-General. Everyone needs to take action, including the food sector. Consumer food companies across the globe are turning their attention toward all greenhouse gas emissions within their sphere of influence: Scope 1, Scope 2, and, in particular, Scope 3.

Report summary

• Scope 3 emissions (emissions from the supply chain) account for more than 90% of total emissions for an average packaged food company. As purchased inputs such as food ingredients and packaging account for the majority of Scope 3 emissions, collaboration with the value chain is key to making a sizable reduction happen.

• Target-setting by food companies, particularly for Scope 3 emissions, has grown exponentially for the last few years. For some packaged food subsectors like breakfast cereals or confectionery, more than 40% of the sector in terms of 2020 retail sales has set Scope 3 reduction targets.

• Consumer food companies with Scope 3 emission targets aim, on average, for a one-third reduction of their value chain emissions.

• Companies with a higher absolute footprint or with a higher emission intensity also have more ambition.

• So far, most food companies have made minimal or no progress on their Scope 3 targets. In order to accelerate progress, the input and cooperation of suppliers is vital.

• By engaging with their off-takers, suppliers could prevent them from switching to a supplier with better insight into emissions or with an existing reduction plan, even benefiting from the movement to lower emissions.