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Stronger net-zero action needed from food sector, say investors

A group of more than 500 investors representing $55TN in assets has published a strategy for the food and beverage sector to achieve a net-zero future in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Published on 24 August and authored by Ceres Power and PRI | Principles for Responsible Investment, Global Sector Strategies: Recommended Investor Expectations for Food and Beverage notes that the food and beverage sector accounts for about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, with the biggest contribution coming from its supply chains. As such, neither the individual companies nor the sector as a whole will be able to meet science-based emissions reduction targets without addressing supply chain upstream emissions from agriculture and land use change.

As the report points out, to align with the International Energy Agency (IEA) Net Zero by 2050 scenario, Scope 3 land-based emissions must be reduced by 85% compared to a business-as-usual scenario. The sector is currently not on track to meet that target by some margin, with little evidence of specific strategies to measure and reduce Scope 3 emissions. Scope 1 and 2 emissions, which make up about 17% of food and beverage sector emissions, must also be reduced as much as possible.

Climate Action 100+ warns the food sector is not on track to meet its net-zero targets

The report called on businesses to:

  • Integrate supply chain climate action into corporate decision-making processes and procurement policies
  • Incentivise and support agricultural producers to reduce the climate impact of crop and livestock production and enhance agricultural carbon sequestration
  • Align capital expenditures, product development, and R&D with a 1.5-degree scenario
  • Transition to more efficient and renewable energy use and transportation across operations, distribution, and supply chains
  • Improve processing, manufacturing, and packaging practices to reduce emissions and limit waste
  • Partner with peers, suppliers, and policy-makers to drive transformations across the sector

The report also noted that investors have an important role to play by engaging companies both within and outside the sector on key actions to support the net-zero transition. This includes engagement with chemical companies, machinery companies, and banks.

Mark Davis, GridBeyond’s Managing Director UK & Ireland, said:

“Mitigating emissions in food and beverage sector presents companies with a significant challenge, but it has potential to also bring enormous business opportunities.

“The natural energy flexibility found in temperature-controlled environments makes them perfect for participation in Demand Side Response. Food and beverage industries typically have around 30% flexibility, while ambient, chilled and frozen logistics can be much higher. This means the sector is perfectly positioned to support the nation’s transition to net zero by providing balancing services to the grid that enable higher integration of renewables.”

 

Using AI-powered technology, GridBeyond finds energy flexibility on the site and makes it work for food and beverage businesses, reducing operating costs, carbon emissions and securing new revenues. We empower energy users to benefit from flexible procurement, installation of on-site batteries to increase their operational resilience, and access to energy services that support the UK’s transition to a net-zero economy.

Find out if you’re eligible to start earning revenue from your assets with a free, 20-minute eligibility assessment.  

 

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