Ceres scouts for investors to join engagement effort with high-emitting US food and ag companies

McDonald’s, Domino’s, Kellogg and Beyond Meat among target companies

The US-based sustainability body Ceres is asking investors to join a new engagement programme targeting 50 of the highest-emitting publicly-traded food and agriculture companies in North America.

Food Emissions 50’s focus companies range from fast food giants like McDonald’s and Domino's Pizza, to household staples like Kelloggs, as well as newer entries to the market, such as plant-based protein company Beyond Meat. 

The initiative builds on the work of Climate Action 100+ and the Global Investor Engagement on Meat Sourcing. In April, the latter claimed that six fast food giants – all of which are also on Food Emissions 50’s list – had bowed to investor pressure by ramping up their climate commitments after a two-year engagement process. 

The new initiative will work with an expanded list of companies and focus on deeper engagements with the value chains and supply chains of the targets to address their Scope 3 emissions. 

Investor signatories, which already include Green Century and 7th Generation, will seek commitments from the companies to: disclose greenhouse gas emissions across their entire value chains and set science-based emission reduction targets aligned with 1.5°C; develop and disclose comprehensive climate transition action plans for reducing emissions in line with what is needed to limit warming to 1.5°C; and implement the actions identified in those plans and disclose progress.

An initial benchmark of the firms by Ceres found that 70% of the 50 do not disclose emissions from agriculture, and more than 80% do not disclose emissions from land use change. In addition, over 60% do not include any scope 3 emissions in their emission reduction targets – this is despite scope 3 emissions making up the majority of emissions from the food sector.

The sign-on deadline is September 30th.

Food Emissions 50 is part of a larger Ceres effort to decarbonise six of the highest-emitting sectors in the US. Details of the broader initiative will be announced in August.

In June, RI reported how a separate $5trn global investor coalition, coordinated by FAIRR, the Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return initiative founded by private equity investor Jeremy Coller, had partnered with former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to call on G20 nations to disclose specific targets to reduce agricultural emissions within their Nationally Determined Contributions in the run up to COP26.

In related news, the Institutional Investor Group on Climate Change has a callout for proposals on measuring Scope 3 emissions as part of a project set to commence in August.