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Cargill sets new goal to address climate change

As our company grows, emissions will go down.

February 01, 2018

Imagine taking 270,000 U.S. cars off the road for a year. Or cutting the emissions of someone flying roundtrip between New York and Shanghai 300,000 times. With a new commitment to tackle climate change, that’s roughly the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions Cargill will cut from its operations annually by 2025.

Building on nearly 20 years of climate action, Cargill has committed to reduce absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in our operations by a minimum of 10 percent by 2025, against a 2017 baseline. That means that even as our business grows, our emissions will shrink.

Cargill’s commitment is aligned with science-based targets, which are intended to keep the global rise in temperature below 2 degrees Celsius, and encompasses emissions in our operations, known as Scope 1 and 2 emissions. This translates to reductions of about 1.25 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) each year.

“Cargill is a strong and outspoken advocate for climate action. We cannot ignore the impact of a changing climate on our global food system,” said Cargill’s chairman and CEO David MacLennan. “Business has a critical role to play. That’s why we’re taking an important next step by driving reductions in our company’s operations.”

In 2017, Cargill partnered with The Nature Conservancy to develop a climate change strategy and set a new commitment in line with the Paris climate agreement and United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Reaching this commitment involves capital investment and expansion of Cargill’s use of renewable energy.

Ruth Kimmelshue-Corporate Senior Vice President responsible for Business Operations and Supply Chain and Global Sustainability Ruth Kimmelshue: “We have an opportunity to drive efficiencies, accelerate progress and embrace energy innovations.”  “We have an opportunity to drive efficiencies, accelerate progress and embrace energy innovations,” said Ruth Kimmelshue, Corporate Senior Vice President responsible for Business Operations and Supply Chain and Global Sustainability. “We’re positioned to grow in an increasingly competitive marketplace and are investing in changes in our supply chains to more sustainably and efficiently serve our customers.”

  • Cargill set its first energy efficiency target in 2000 and expanded them to improve energy efficiency, reduce GHG emissions and increase our use of renewable energy. These targets have driven consistent improvements over time. Since 2000, we have increased energy efficiency by a total of 16 percent.
  • Improved GHG intensity by 9 percent.
  • Increased renewable energy to make up 14 percent of our total energy use. We currently use more than 15 different renewable energy sources at nearly 100 Cargill locations worldwide.

Our new commitment replaces – and outpaces – these targets.

"We applaud Cargill’s leadership in aligning its business operations with global efforts to limit climate change to 2 degrees Celsius", said Mark Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “We look forward to working alongside the company to identify ways to further reduce emissions and build momentum towards a more sustainable agriculture sector.”

As part of our climate strategy, we continue to evaluate our supply chain, or Scope 3 emissions, which account for roughly 90 percent of emissions across our value chain. We are evaluating cultivation, animal feed, protein and transportation as areas to drive further reductions. We also advocate for continued investment to help farmers adapt to climate change. This includes investment in biosciences, agronomics and best practices in sustainable agriculture.

Climate change is one of Cargill’s sustainability priorities along with land use, water resources, and farmer livelihoods.