21 May 2014 — Kellogg’s is among the worst performing of 10 major food and drink companies regarding greenhouse gas emissions, Oxfam Australia said today, with all companies needing to step up on climate change.

The report, Standing on the Sidelines – why food and beverage companies must do more to tackle climate change, calls on the food and beverage industry to commit to reducing emissions within their supply chain.

Oxfam Australia’s food policy specialist Kelly Dent said the top ten food and beverage companies together emitted more greenhouse gases than Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway combined.

“If they were a single country, they would be the 25th most polluting country in the world,” Ms Dent said.

“The ‘Big 10’ companies could cut their emissions by 80 million tonnes by 2020 – when global emissions need to start reducing in order for the world to stay within a safe climate – which would be the equivalent to taking all Australian cars off the road.”

The global food system – including sources from production of agricultural inputs like fertiliser, to emissions from agricultural production, refrigeration and transport – accounts for about 25-27 per cent of global emissions.

The ‘Big 10’ companies are Associated British Foods, Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Mondelez International, Nestle, PepsiCo and Unilever.

Of their total emissions, about half come from the production of agricultural materials from their supply chains, yet these emissions are not covered by the reduction targets the companies have set.

Ms Dent said some of the companies had admitted that climate change was already hurting them financially.

Unilever says it now loses $444 million a year, while General Mills reported losing 62 days of production in the first fiscal quarter of 2014 alone because of extreme weather conditions that are growing worse because of climate change.

“Too many of today’s food and beverage giants are crossing their fingers and hoping that climate change won’t disrupt the food system, imagining someone else will fix it,” Ms Dent said.

Oxfam singled out Kellogg and General Mills as two of the worst on climate change and has called on them to put in place more responsible policies and practices.

“As companies that are deeply exposed to climate impacts, it’s in the interest of food and beverage companies to see a more ambitious national and global response. We are therefore urging them to also speak up for stronger government policies and programs to tackle climate change,” she said.