The food and drink sector is set to fall short of the 2030 carbon reduction goal by 34%.
That’s according to analysis by AlixPartners, which claims the target set for the industry in 2015 by the Paris Agreement and Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) does not align with most Western food distributors’ goals.
Less than 30% of sustainability executives at food and drink companies are confident their business will meet their carbon reduction aims, according to the study – with too much emphasis put on the emissions in their value chain created by other companies.
More than 230 companies in the sector in both Europe and the US were investigated by the researchers, with the largest 13 food packaging companies also included to gain an idea of the entire industry’s environmental position.
Even if all these companies hit their current targets, they will still have only quashed carbon emissions by 29% by 2030 – which falls short of the industry’s target of 38%.
However, there is a large lack of confidence from these companies that they would be able to achieve these targets, with the study therefore stating that there is currently not any chance of the Paris goal being reached.
A lack of transparency in the food chain also exacerbates the situation, as many retailers and producers state they have no idea of the carbon footprint being produced by other parts of their supply chain.
The report calls for an easier way of tracking this to be introduced; so that the sector can stay on top of its environmental impact.
Andy Searle, AlixPartners, said: “If the industry is going to meet its carbon reduction goals by 2030, time is of the essence. Consumer-products companies need to determine what they need to do and who within their business needs to act within the next 12 months and then within the next 24 months.
“The ‘doing’ needs to be transferred from the sustainability teams to those in operational roles and with those in operational roles empowered to take action and goals embedded across the company’s organisational culture. Speeding-up and scaling-up will be vital to driving a successful outcome.”