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Food and Beverage Giants Appeal to Congress for Urgent Action on Climate Change

In the wake of the signing of the historic global climate agreement on Earth Day, more than a half-dozen leading food and beverage companies converged on Capitol Hill last week to press U.S. House lawmakers for federal action on climate change.

At a congressional briefing, top executives from Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, Kellogg Company, Mars Incorporated, PepsiCo, Stonyfield and Unilever discussed how climate change is disrupting global food supplies and their own supply chains. They called on lawmakers to acknowledge the ways in which rising temperatures are impacting their businesses and to act swiftly to reach bipartisan solutions to tackle this threat.

“At Kellogg, we know people care about where food comes from, who grows and makes it, and that there is enough for everyone,” said Diane Holdorf, Chief Sustainability Officer at Kellogg. “Climate change can impact both food security and our business by posing risks to the long-term health and viability of the ingredients we use in our foods.”

“I want to thank Ceres for its advocacy and for partnering with leaders in the private sector and government to reach bipartisan solutions on our changing climate,” Gibson said. “I look forward to working together so that we can help alleviate our carbon footprint on the natural world and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Since 2009, Ceres’ has been working with food and beverage companies and other consumer brands through its advocacy coalition, Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), to push lawmakers to pass climate and clean energy legislation.

“This is the kind of bipartisan leadership we need in Congress if we are going to fight the greatest threat to our global economy,” said Anne Kelly, Senior Director of Policy and BICEP Program at Ceres. “But we need more policymakers to move quickly on meaningful solutions, and when they do, Ceres and these companies will be right behind them.”

The food and beverage executives shared their best business practices for dealing with climate change and other sustainability threats. They also updated congressional leaders on their climate and clean energy commitments post-Paris.

  • Kellogg, for example, has committed a 65 percent reduction for direct greenhouse emissions by 2050 from its 2015 baseline, and to engage suppliers to reduce indirect emissions by 50 percent by 2050 from the 2015 baseline, which represent a continuation from its 2020 sustainability commitments.
  • Unilever said 100 percent of its energy will come from renewable sources, and it will directly support the generation of more renewable energy than it needs for its own operations, making the surplus available to the markets and communities in which they operate.

This isn’t the first time many of these companies have appealed to policymakers to take firm action to help curb climate change. In October the CEOs of Mars**,** General Mills, Unilever, Kellogg, Nestlé USA, New Belgium Brewing, Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, Stonyfield and Dannon USA pledged to do their part to improve their own sustainability, while urging U.S. and world leaders to back climate action and the historic Paris Agreement.