Oxfam Australia welcomed today’s commitment from General Mills to implement industry-leading measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chains and press for political action to address climate change.
The announcement by General Mills (maker of Old El Paso, Latina Pasta and Haagen-Dazs) comes after more than 230,000 people around the world signed petitions and took action as part of Oxfam’s campaign to urge food and beverage companies to help stop climate change.
Oxfam Australia’s climate change policy advisor Simon Bradshaw said the commitments announced today would make General Mills the first major food and beverage company to promise to implement long-term, science-based targets to cut emissions from across all of its operations and supply chains.
“The commitment by General Mills throws the inaction of the Australian Government into sharp relief, and is a sign that it will come under greater pressure from business and the international community to legislate an ambitious, long-term plan of action to tackle climate change,” Mr Bradshaw said.
General Mills’ new policy states that “business, together with government, NGOs and individuals, needs to act to reduce the human impact of climate change,” and that “government policies that provide proportionate and clear guidance on mitigation and adaptation are essential for large-scale progress.”
Among actions General Mills has agreed to take are: to define and disclose a total supply chain greenhouse gas reduction target by August 2015, with a focus on achieving agriculture emissions reductions; to aim to achieve zero net deforestation in high-risk supply chains by 2020; and to disclose the top three suppliers of palm oil and sugar cane.
“Today General Mills has taken a bold step to be an industry leader in addressing the clear and present threat climate change poses to our food system,” Mr Bradshaw said.
“Rather than stand by silently as increasingly dangerous conditions undermine its business and the food we all eat, General Mills aims to be part of the solution. Political leaders and others in the industry should take note.
“This would not have happened without the remarkable outpouring of public action from individuals who are fed up with the lack of effort to address climate change from too many food companies and governments.”
Oxfam’s report, Standing on the Sidelines, released on 20 May, 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. The report also highlighted cases in Liberia and Indonesia where suppliers of palm oil to General Mills and Kellogg are accused of clearing land and burning forests.
See the company’s commitments at: http://www.generalmills.com/ChannelG/Issues/climate_policy.aspx/
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