The world’s largest food company, Nestle, announced on Thursday its plans to invest 3.2 billion Swiss francs ($3.58 billion) over five years to cut its emissions, advance regenerative agriculture, shift to renewable energy for all its power by 2025 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Chris Barrett, an expert on global food systems, is a professor of applied economics and management at Cornell University and a fellow at Cornell’s Atkinson Center for Sustainability. Barrett says decisions from firms like Nestle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can have domino effects on suppliers, manufacturers, consumers and even other firms — turning food systems into a solution to combatting climate change rather than part of the problem.
“It matters enormously that major food multinationals like Nestle and Unilever make large public commitments to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from their supply chains. The food system is presently an important contributor to the climate crisis, but could become part of the solution.
“The actions of big firms carry disproportionate importance. Their multi-billion dollar investments are significant in their own right. But those actions especially matter because market leaders compel other firms to follow suit. The contractual terms they set for their suppliers and the expectations they raise among consumers will impact other food manufacturers, retailers and restaurant chains.”