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Mega-brands and climate change

Climate Change Booklet shows how big business is changing
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Crack Picture from MyGreenPod Sustainable News

The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) today published its first Climate Change Booklet, which details the new business practices employed by members in order to address climate change.

The CGF hopes the booklet – which covers companies such as Danone, Nestlé, Marks & Spencer and Unilever – will help inspire others to take up the baton.

Buying power – how global super-brands could change the planet

‘The time for talk is over’

Each of the 18 real-life examples includes insight from the respective company’s CEO, as well as details about their business actions and the key figures that support their progress.

‘The climate challenge is one we all need to take up. The time for talk is over. If global temperatures increase more than 2°C, the consumer industry – like everyone else – will face increased business risks, disruption of supply chains, volatility of commodity prices and increased operational costs.

‘Our retailer and manufacturer members know this, and this booklet showcases how some of them are working individually and collectively to drive positive change globally.’

Peter Freedman, Managing Director of The Consumer Goods Forum


In its Nature 2020 plan, Danone set ambitious targets to fight climate change by reducing Danone’s footprint and helping nature sequester more carbon.

Danone committed to reducing its GHG emissions by 50% between 2008 and 2020. So far, Danone has reduced its emissions by 42% since 2008 (organic reduction) and has successfully ‘decoupled’ its carbon emissions and the volume growth.

Through its forest footprint policy, Danone has engaged in a journey to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain by 2020.

To help Nature capture more carbon, Danone set up the Livelihoods Carbon Fund, which should sequester 8 million tons of carbon over 20 years.

‘At Danone, because we believe that healthy food can only come from healthy nature and that the energy and raw materials that we consume change the nature of our planet, we continue our efforts to reduce our environmental footprint. We believe in the power of the solutions that arise from co-creation processes with the communities that surround us.’

Emmanuel Faber, Danone’s Chief Executive Officer


Nestlé committed to reducing its direct greenhouse gas emissions per tonne of product by 35% (since 2005) by 2015. The company has smashed its target and reduced direct greenhouse gas emissions per tonne of product by 40% since 2005, achieving an absolute reduction of 11.4%.

By the end of 2014, Nestlé had phased out 92% of the industrial refrigerants in its industrial refrigeration systems, replacing them with natural refrigerants which don’t harm the ozone layer and have a negligible impact on climate change.

‘We commit to set science-based GHG emissions reduction targets and to focus on climate change adaptation because this is fully aligned with our own explicit commitments, which reflect our respect for society in which we operate, respect for the environment and respect for future generations.’

Paul Bulcke, Nestlé’s Chief Executive Officer

Marks & Spencer

As part of its ‘Plan A’, over the last eight years Marks & Spencer has reduced its operational carbon footprint by 24% and improved in-store energy efficiency by 34% per square foot, which in turn has helped the company cut its energy bill by £22m. Greenhouse gas emissions from its refrigeration units have also been cut by 73%.

All the electricity purchased by M&S in the UK & Republic of Ireland is from green tariff renewable sources, with 28% coming from small scale de-centralised sources. The company has also invested in the UK’s largest solar roof at its Castle Donington distribution centre.

Operations have been made carbon neutral to help accelerate investment in renewables and programmes to prevent deforestation in the developing world. In a further bid to curb deforestation, 96% of M&S’s wood comes from responsible sources (with a target to achieve 100%) and 100% of its palm oil is RSPO certified.

‘At Marks and Spencer we’re committed to playing a leading role in tackling climate change. It’s what our 34 million customers expect of us. We also know that unchecked climate change will have major implications for our operations and supply chains.’

Marc Bolland, Marks & Spencer’s CEO


Unilever has committed to sourcing 100% of its agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and help end deforestation linked to commodity supply chains. It also pledged to accelerate the roll-out of HFC-free freezer cabinets – purchasing a total of 1,500,000 units by 2015.

By 2020, the CO2 emissions from Unilever’s factories will be at or below 2008 levels, despite the fact that significantly higher volumes of production. That represents a reduction of around 40% per tonne of production.

Unilever has also pledged to more than double its use of renewable energy to 40% of total
energy requirements by 2020. This is a first step towards a long-term goal of 100% renewable energy.

‘At Unilever, we work for a limitation of global warming at 2°C because it’s imperative to sustainable and inclusive development. That’s why Unilever is committed to 100% sustainable sourcing, zero net deforestation, HFC-free ice cream freezers and moving to renewable

Paul Polman, Unilever’s Chief Executive Officer

Maximising impacts

As well as providing the only international, collaborative platform for consumer goods retailers and manufacturers, the CGF helps member companies to amplify the impact of their solutions.

Its Sustainability Pillar has eight dedicated working groups focused on addressing some of the industry’s key climate change challenges, like the sustainable sourcing of key commodities (palm oil, soy, beef and paper and pulp), refrigeration and solid and food waste.

Click here for more information on the CGF’s sustainability work.

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