Over 2,000 high-emitting businesses are on the hotseat to establish science-based targets. With scientists stressing that the window to avoid 1.5 °C of global warming is fast closing, CDP’s call-to-action campaign backed by financial and corporate giants including Legal & General, Bayer, BMW, and L'Oréal, encourages businesses to set emissions reduction targets. Operating in high-carbon sectors like steel, chemicals and logistics, the targeted businesses include FedEx, Nippon Steel, Dow Chemical, Rio Tinto and JD.com, and are responsible for over 8.3 gigatonnes of combined CO2 emissions, according to CDP.
The call-to-action requests that these companies align their emissions reduction efforts with Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) targets, covering both direct and indirect emissions. CDP emphasises the urgent need for drastic emission reductions, and highlights the growing role of financial institutions in pressuring companies to decarbonise. During their 2022-2023 campaign, around 100 business joined the SBTi. Of these, the majority were companies from Japan, Sweden and the UK, with US and Chinese companies trailing behind.
The $10 trillion cost of unsustainable food systems
Ahead of COP28, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have published a report which reveals the hidden costs of the current state of global agrifood systems. The FAO that factors such as productivity losses, public health costs to address obesity in the global north, and malnutrition in the global south, are costing over $7 trillion annually. further $2 trillion covers the cost of environmental degradation; the FAO notes the number is likely underestimated. This covers greenhouse gas and nitrogen emissions, land-use change and water use. While these costs are a burden world-over, low-income nations are disproportionately affected, with these costs accounting for 27% of their GDP on average.
The report introduces a true cost accounting (TCA) approach to assess the environmental, health and social costs of agrifood systems. The FAO urges government to use TCA as a tool to transform agrifood systems and inform appropriate policymaking. They intend to publish a more detailed assessment as an update to the analysis next in 2024, including recommendations for specific policy interventions. These may include modifications to tax and subsidy systems.
This report comes days after Global Alliance for the Future of Food’s Power shift report
, which analyses the use of fossil fuels in our food systems, and its effects on the environment. With impacts such as these across industries and systems, fossil fuel phase-out is high on the agenda for COP28.
British online fashion retailer’s ‘ethical’ supply chain exposed
A BBC investigation has presented exclusive evidence of British fashion retailer Boohoo’s staff pressuring suppliers to drive prices down. An undercover reporter working at the retailer’s head office in Manchester has revealed that they were instructed to process a 5% reduction on more than 400 orders that had already been agreed with the suppliers. This is in blatant contradiction to Boohoo’s 2020 ‘Agenda for Change’ programme, which pledges to overhaul their practices, after consistent accusations over exploitation, low pay and unsafe working conditions.
A recent tidal wave of national and international legislation has put human rights firmly on the agenda for business. From the EU’s draft corporate sustainability due diligence directive to Germany’s supply chain due diligence act, and France’s duty of vigilance, the need to improve and mitigate impacts of corporate activities on human rights is unavoidable. In order to remain compliant, businesses must now navigate a global web of legislation and ensure their human rights policy is robust throughout supply chains.
Consumer shift in dietary choices for a better world
The new Tetra Pak Index 2023 report has revealed that a growing proportion of consumers are willing to adjust their eating habits to protect the planet. The report is based on an IPSOS survey conducted in ten countries across the world. Over half of respondents (54%) expressed willingness to change their diet to benefit the planet, while 70% emphasized the importance of healthy products that do no harm to the environment. The survey also indicates that health is a motivator for 56% of people to adopt flexitarian, pescatarian, vegetarian, or vegan diets, with 36% citing environmental concerns as their primary driver for dietary changes. A notable 62% of respondents believe technology plays a pivotal role in steering a more sustainable future.
Tetra Pak's president and CEO, Adolfo Orive, finds these results to be a reflection of ongoing efforts to decarbonize the food industry and create more resilient and sustainable food systems, focusing on optimizing the value chain through innovations in sourcing, packaging, processing, and distribution. The survey encompassed 5,000 online interviews across various countries including Brazil, China, Germany, India, Kenya, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, UK, and USA.