Five ways Cargill is addressing climate change 

February 11, 2015

For the first time in over 20 years of United Nations negotiations, world leaders are meeting in Paris Nov. 30-Dec.11 with the goal of achieving a political agreement on climate. It is the UN’s 21st Conference of Parties (COP21), also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.
Cargill supports a strong outcome in Paris and has an ongoing commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase low-carbon investments, deploy more clean energy, and build a more sustainable enterprise while tackling climate change. We have participated in dialogue leading up to the conference and will be actively engaged in ongoing discussions as we seek to address climate change in our operations and our supply chains.

Five ways Cargill is addressing climate change:

1. Signing the American Business Act on Climate Pledge

In July, we joined a dozen other U.S.-based companies in signing the pledge, reaffirming our commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our own operations and in our supply chains – and to partner with farmers to help agriculture adapt to a changing climate.

By signing the pledge, companies voiced their support for the U.S. government to play a role in reaching a climate change agreement at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. They also committed to “accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy” in order to “produce multiple benefits with regard to sustainable economic growth, public health, resilience to natural disasters, and the health of the global environment.”

2. Reducing our environmental impact in our own operations and across our supply chains 

We established comprehensive goals around climate, energy and water 10 years ago. We have improved energy efficiency by 16 percent, carbon intensity by 9 percent, and freshwater efficiency by 12 percent since setting energy goals in 2000 and climate and water goals in 2005. From our 2015 baseline, Cargill pledges to over the next five years:

  • Improve greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity by 5 percent.
  • Improve freshwater efficiency by 5 percent.
  • Improve energy efficiency by 5 percent.
  • Increase renewable energy to 18 percent of our total energy use, up from 14 percent.

3. Curbing deforestation

Deforestation is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions in our supply chains. We are a signatory to the 2014 United Nations' New York Declaration on Forests, in which we committed to doing our part to cut natural forest loss in half by 2020, and end it by 2030. In September of this year, we issued a global Policy on Forests and regionalized Forest Protection Action Plans to build on this commitment. Learn more here.

Watch 30 forest advocates, including our chairman and chief executive officer, David MacLennan, share a collective message to end deforestation.

4. Working to find lasting solutions

In November, we were a lead-sponsor of Food Chain Reaction: A Global Food Security Game, a simulation and role-playing exercise where, along with partners, we convened 60 international leaders and experts in Washington, D.C. for a two-day event designed to explore the global impacts of natural resource scarcity and climate change on food policy, production, access, and distribution. Intended to improve understanding of how governments, institutions and private sector interests might interact to address a crisis in the global food system, Cargill, along with our partners, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Center for American Progress, aim to participate in forums before and after the UN Climate Conference in December, to highlight and disseminate learnings from the Food Chain Reaction exercise.

5. Promoting and encouraging dialogue

We are actively involved in the Risky Business Project, which focuses on quantifying and publicizing the economic risks from the impacts of a changing climate. Cargill chose to participate in this conversation because we believe it is an important dialogue to have today for the food and agriculture sector in order to prepare to accommodate a range of climate change scenarios.