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Cutting our footprint: 4 ways Cargill is taking action

September 23, 2019

At Cargill, we are taking actions to reduce our impact across our supply chains and increase awareness of the risk climate change poses to global agriculture, farmer livelihoods and food security in the years to come.

Here are four ways Cargill is working to reduce our climate impact.

Reducing emissions in the North American beef supply

As global demand for protein rises, farmers, ranchers and agribusiness are looking to feed a growing population while protecting the planet. Given the reality of climate change, there is a pressing need for all industries to do more with less impact.

The North American beef producers who supply us are already demonstrating progress in this area; today, U.S. farmers and ranchers produce 18% of the world’s beef with only 8% of the world’s cattle. To accelerate progress, Cargill recently launched BeefUp Sustainability, a collaborative effort that spans across the entire North American beef supply chain, that aims to achieve a 30% greenhouse gas intensity reduction by 2030, measured by per pound of product.

We are building on the strong environmental stewardship led by farmers and ranchers, and investing in science-based practices and tailored programs in grazing management, feed production, innovation, and food waste reduction. Through this opt-in initiative, we will partner with farmers, ranchers, NGOs, government entities, customers and industry colleagues to drive progress.

Boosting soil health

Working alongside farmers to improve soil health is one way we can make a positive impact on the environment. That’s because healthy soil retains more carbon. It also retains more water, making crops more resilient to drought. There are multiple strategies for improving soil health, including reducing tillage, optimizing or reducing fertilizer use and adopting the use of cover crops.

Alongside our partners, like the Soil Health Institute, we are collaborating to provide the research and insight farmers need to understand how investing in soil health provides both financial and environmental benefits. Investing in soil health now will pay economic dividends for farmers in the long term, as healthier soil is more productive, more resilient to extreme conditions and requires fewer inputs with lower costs.

Together with farmers, we can leverage the latest sustainable and innovative agricultural practices to create meaningful impact.

Making shipping more sustainable

Shipping remains one of the most efficient means of transporting vast quantities of goods, but more must be done to improve the sustainability of the sector. Cargill supports industry efforts to reduce the environmental impact of shipping, including the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) strategy to reduce total GHG emissions from ships by at least 50% by 2050, against a 2008 baseline.

As part of this, in 2017 Cargill set three key goals for our ocean transportation business to reach by 2020: reduce carbon emissions by 15% per cargo-ton-mile in our chartered fleet, achieve 80% of our fleet rated A through D by RightShip, and ensure 100% compliance with IMO’s 2020 Global Sulphur Cap.

Since 2016, we have reduced our CO2 emissions per cargo-ton-mile in our time-chartered fleet by 12.1%, and we are on course to meet our 2020 commitment to achieve a 15% reduction compared to our 2016 baseline. Last year, we also cut our annual gross CO2 output by 350,000 tons (4.5% reduction compared to 2017).

Cargill has signed the Global Maritime Forum’s ambition statement “Getting To Zero Coalition” launched at this week’s U.N. Climate Action Summit. The statement brings together several of the industry’s leading players to work together to tackle the complex and critical issues required to reach zero emissions by 2050.

Investing in renewable energy

In 2017, Cargill set a goal to reduce 10% of our overall greenhouse gas emissions from our operations by 2025, against a 2017 baseline. That's the equivalent of taking 270,000 cars off the streets for an entire year or cutting the emissions of flying roundtrip between New York and Shanghai 300,000 times.

Renewable energy plays a crucial role in meeting that commitment. Cargill currently uses 15 different renewable energy sources around the world, including wind power. When the Crocker Wind Farm in South Dakota—which is operated by Geronimo Energy— celebrated its dedication in August, we took a big step toward meeting that goal.

This investment alone will help us meet 10% of our 2025 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. The wind farm is expected to begin operations soon and will produce up to 200 megawatts of clean wind power per hour. It’s just one way we’re embracing energy innovations to accelerate progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.