Kellogg issues climate change wake-up call

Oxfam welcomes Kellogg’s climate action commitments following public pressure.

Kellogg today became the second global food giant to say it will take industry-leading steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions in its agricultural supply chains in line with climate science. This is in response to actions by more than 238,000 supporters of Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign. General Mills announced similar plans on July 28.

“We welcome Kellogg’s efforts to become an industry leader in the fight against climate change and the damage it is causing to people everywhere,” said Monique van Zijl, campaign manager for Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign. “Kellogg’s new commitments add momentum to calls on governments and the wider food and agriculture industry to recognize that climate change is real, it’s happening now, and we need to tackle it.”

Most significantly, Kellogg, the maker of Corn Flakes, Pringles and Keebler Cookies, specified that it will for the first time set targets to reduce “Scope 3” greenhouse gas emissions, where the majority of the company’s value chain climate pollution occurs, largely from agricultural production.

It will also sign-on to the Climate Declaration and join the Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) a leading advocacy coalition of businesses committed to working with policy makers to pass meaningful climate and energy legislation.

 “Climate change is putting hundreds of millions of people at risk of hunger and threatening everything from coffee and cereal to wine and chocolate,” said van Zijl. “Kellogg is joining a growing list of companies that are putting the weight of their brands behind climate action.”

Kellogg’s new climate policy comes alongside other promising new sustainability commitments released today. Oxfam welcomes Kellogg’s climate action commitment including its promises to:

  1. Define and disclose a total supply chain greenhouse gas reduction target, including scope 1, 2, & 3 emissions, by December 2015, including agriculture emissions reductions.  The targets will use a science-based methodology approved and endorsed by industry and other stakeholders to be consistent with the goal of keeping global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.

  2. Require key suppliers to measure and publically disclose their emissions and reduction targets.

  3. Establish a climate change adaptation strategy that incorporates the needs of smallholders in our supply chain by December 2015.

  4. Expand zero net deforestation pledge to high-risk supply chains by 2020. This expands its previous commitments for palm oil and packaging fiber to include other supply chains at high risk for deforestation and land degradation including soy and sugarcane.

  5. Disclose top three suppliers of palm oil, soy, and sugar cane, key drivers of deforestation and land use change.

  6. Participate in the CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), including annual reporting on Scope 3 emissions data and responding to the Forests Information Request.

  7. Publicly advocate for effective and efficient public and industry association policy, such as encouraging the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association to make climate change a priority.

  8. Join BICEP and sign-on to the Climate Declaration.

  9. Regularly review company statements and policies to ensure they are aligned with mitigation targets, plans, and adaptation initiatives. Report on governance-related activity on climate policy where material.

  10. Include climate and deforestation policies in Supplier Code of Conduct and supplier expectations for all high-risk commodities of material significance.

  11. Address issues raised by Oxfam and its partners about its palm oil suppliers in Indonesia and Liberia.

The company’s full commitments can be seen at: Kellogg

Oxfam’s Standing on the Sidelines report, revealed that the 10 biggest food and beverage companies together emit so much greenhouse gas that, if they were a single country, they would be the 25th most polluting in the world. By pursuing industry-leading measures to cut emissions from its agricultural supply chains, General Mills and Kellogg are showing that much more can be done by everyone in the industry to reduce climate pollution.

“We applaud Kellogg for taking this vital first step,” said van Zijl. “We look forward to tracking the actions the company takes to follow through on their promises. There is no longer a question of whether consumer action can produce results. The real question is whether the wider industry and our political leaders will get ahead of the wave or wait to be crushed by it.” 

Notes to editors

1. Read Kellogg’s’ new policy at: http://www.kelloggcompany.com/content/dam/kelloggcompanyus/corporate_responsibility/pdf/2014/Climate_Policy.pdf

2. Oxfam’s investigation into climate change and the food industry is available at: http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/policy/standing-sidelines

3. Oxfam’s Behind the Brands ranking of food and beverage companies is available at www.behindthebrands.org/scorecard/scorecard

Contact information

Ben Grossman-Cohen; O: +1 (202) 777 2907; bgrossman-cohen@oxfamamerica.org