CHICAGO — Food and beverage companies will need the teamwork of the entire supply chain, including farmers and ingredient suppliers, to reach net zero-carbon goals, said Irene Espinola Campos, head of net zero carbon for Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV, Mexico City. A company’s direct efforts only make up 10% of greenhouse gas emissions related to the life cycle of products.
“So working alone will only reduce 10% of the emissions,” she said in a March 2 presentation at the American Society of Baking’s BakingTech in Chicago. “However, 85% of the emissions will only be eliminated if we start working together, if we start collaborating, if we start looking into the same goals. That’s the only way we’re going to be able to have an effect on the climate and the (carbon) footprint that we need to reduce.”
Customers of food and beverage companies account for the other 5%, she said.
GHG emissions contribute to global warming. The Paris Agreement set a goal to limit the global temperature increase to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius. To reach the goal, emissions need to be cut by about 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. Net zero carbon refers to companies reducing gas emissions at the same rate they are emitting them. Think of it as 2 minus 2 equals 0, Ms. Campos said. Grupo Bimbo aims to become a net zero-carbon emissions company by 2050.
The US Environmental Protection Agency divides GHG emissions into three categories. Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from company-owned or company-controlled sources. Ms. Campos gave examples of natural gas ovens in bakeries and truck fleets that deliver the bakeries’ products. Scope 2 emissions are indirect and come from electricity, heat or steam purchased by a company.
Scope 3 emissions are those indirect emissions that happen in the supply chain. To improve in the Scope 3 category, food and beverage companies could work with ingredient suppliers that have plans in place to reduce their own GHG emissions or work with farmers on using agricultural practices such as no-till and cover crops, Ms. Campos said.
She compared climate change to surfing. Surfers must dominate, not fight, the waves. Now, industry needs to dominate climate change.
“The moment is now,” Ms. Campos said. “The path is clear. The decision is ours, and the future is everyone’s.”