BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 26 November '16

Global food and drink execs call for action on climate and food security

Officials from Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, Danone, Fetzer Vineyards, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Mars Incorporated, New Belgium Brewing Company, Stonyfield and Unilever have 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.

‘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.’

JOSTEIN SOLHEIM
Chief Executive Officer, Ben & Jerry’s

A ticking clock

In the 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.

‘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.’

PAUL POLMAN
Chief executive officer, Unilever

Each of the companies that signed the statement also joined a recent letter which urged US elected leaders to allow the United States to continue its commitment to the Paris Agreement.

Emissions from agriculture

In this statement, the companies explicitly targeted agricultural issues, noting that ‘Unchecked, agricultural emissions will outstrip reductions from decarbonising 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.’

‘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. 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.’

BARRY PARKIN
Chief sustainability officer, Mars Incorporated

Click here to download the statement, ‘How agriculture can help address climate change and increase food security’.