The CEOs of 10 global food companies pledged to accelerate business action on climate change and urged U.S. and world leaders to form a robust international agreement at COP21 in December in a joint letter coordinated by Ceres and released yesterday. The signatories are the CEOs of Mars, Inc; General Mills, Unilever, Kellogg Company, Nestlé USA, New Belgium Brewing, Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, Stonyfield Farm and Dannon USA — all companies that have already been vocal on the need for climate action as members of Ceres’ Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), an advocacy coalition working to pass meaningful energy and climate legislation; and in Ben & Jerry's case, with efforts such as its "Too Hot to Handle" media series with The Guardian.
“It’s extraordinary to see these iconic food companies, many of which are long-standing competitors, unite at this pivotal moment to urge our political leaders to act swiftly and decisively on global warming, which poses a direct threat to global food supplies,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres.
“As a society we face immense challenges, including climate change, water scarcity and deforestation,” said Grant Reid, President and CEO of Mars, Inc. “We cannot stand back and simply accept these things as they are. We’re calling on the business community and global leaders to work together to set a new way forward. We can, and must, do more.”
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**New Metrics '15.****According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change is contributing to price spikes and social unrest in various regions of the world as it affects food supplies. Depending on changes in temperature and rainfall patterns, the IPCC says food prices may rise between 3 and 84 percent by 2050.
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“Global weather patterns affect crop yields, water availability and infrastructure integrity. These changes impact the business we do every day as well as the work of farmers, suppliers and distributors across our vast network of partners," said Paul Grimwood, Chairman and CEO of Nestlé USA.
Adding to the pressure, Ceres arranged a bipartisan briefing on climate change in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Representative Chris Gibson (R-NY).
“The debate in Congress on climate change has been filled for too long with misinformation and partisan talking points,” Senator Whitehouse said. “Today marks an important shift, as both Democrats and Republicans come together to listen to major food and beverage companies discuss how they are adapting to this global threat. I hope we will be able to build on today’s discussion and begin working toward bipartisan climate solutions in Congress.”
The letter was published in yesterday’s Washington Post and Financial Times. It outlines efforts the companies will make, including reenergizing their efforts to make their supply chains sustainable, speaking transparently about their efforts and sharing best practices with other companies, and advocating for governments to set clear, achievable, measurable, and enforceable, science-based targets for carbon emissions reductions.
“We are asking you to embrace the opportunity presented to you in Paris, and to come back with a sound agreement, properly financed, that can affect real change,” the letter reads.
“We are ready to meet the climate challenges that face our businesses. Please join us in meeting the climate challenges that face the world.”