To chip away at that question, we first looked at emissions intensity for 250 companies across the food product sector, primarily fresh agricultural products and packaged foods & meats producers, with minimum market cap of $300 million – across 40 countries. We used their reported or estimated emissions from direct fuel combustion (Scope 1 emissions) and electricity used by the company (Scope 2), sourced from , and their reported sales to help understand emission intensity for every dollar of sales in a given year (and allow us to look at the trend over time).
Although emissions intensity varies widely across the industry (40 tonnes of CO2/$ for the 50 lowest emitters to 320 tCO2/$ for the 50 highest in 2020) and across geographies (Americas saw 177 tCO2/$ vs 115 tCO2/$ in APAC and 132 tCO2/$ in EMEA the same year), average emissions intensity for the global food industry has barely budged since 2015 – and even increased slightly in 2018 before retreating again.
At face value, the lack of progress on reducing emission intensity is discouraging despite broader market and policy momentum. But it’s not all doom and gloom; in fact, we found 15 companies – large and small, and across geographies – that were able to reduce emissions intensity by at least 35% between 2015 and 2020. In one instance, a large Swedish confectioner was able to trim its carbon intensity by 65% during the same period.