Kellogg Company

Making Gr-r-r-eat strides in maintaining a sustainable supply chain

In 1898, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg created a breakfast revolution when he accidentally flaked wheat berries. [1]  Today, Kellogg Company, a global leader in cereal and snacks, is at the forefront of another type of revolution—one that addresses food security and climate change.

The Battle Creek, Michigan-based company is taking a leadership role to address climate change.  With 1,600 different foods produced in 20 countries and marketed in more than 180 [2], Kellogg depends on a secure and sustainable agricultural supply chain. But increasingly, this supply chain—both the ingredients and the farmers who grow them—is under threat from climate change, exposed to risks from changes in weather patterns and food system shocks.

These changes could cost the company up to 15 percent of its annual revenue [3], and this challenging reality is driving the company—often in partnership with suppliers—to make improvements to its operations, foods and packaging to address the risks to agricultural systems and food suppliers posed by climate change.

“Plant-ing” the seeds for emission reduction

Energy used in Kellogg’s own operations and transportation fleet are the areas where the company can directly drive change.[4]  Kellogg set commitments in 2008 to reduce operational energy usage and GHG emissions by 15-20 percent from 2005-2015. [5]  By the end of that deadline, energy use and GHG emissions—both measured per metric ton of food produced—had decreased by more than seven percent and nearly nine percent  [6], respectively. As that deadline approached, Kellogg recognized the opportunity to establish next generation goals, which expanded its commitments to conserving natural resources while adding a range of commitments in responsible sourcing.

Alongside other WE MEAN BUSINESS members, the company has made more ambitious commitments that include many of its suppliers and will set science-based emissions reductions targets by the end of this year. From 2015-2020, Kellogg aims to expand the use of low-carbon energy in its plants by 50%, and continue to reduce energy use and GHG emissions in its plants by an additional 15 percent (per metric ton of food produced) from 2015 performance. [7]

A sample of CO2 reduction projects
  • At its Eggo® waffles production facility in San Jose, California, Kellogg installed on-site fuel cell technology that converts natural gas into electricity using an extremely efficient electromechanical reaction.  It provides half of the electricity needed to run the plant, and will reduce annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by an estimated 980 metric tons. [8]
  • In India, the company installed biomass-fuelled boilers that provide most of the steam needed at its facilities in facilities in Taloja and Sri City. The solid biofuel is derived from agricultural waste considered carbon neutral, since any CO2 generated when it is burned is offset by the CO2 absorbed while it was growing. [9]
  • In Linares, Mexico, Kellogg installed 125 state-of-the-art solar collectors projected to save nearly more than 150 ghg emissions per year, per metric tonne of food produced. [10]
Seeing the forest for the trees

Another way to reduce carbon levels is to stop cutting down the forests that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.  In 2010, the Consumer Goods Forum pledged to mobilize its resources to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020. As a Forum member, Kellogg is mirroring that commitment with its high-risk supply chains. [11]  It already has a strong palm oil commitment in place—sourcing from plantations dedicated to protecting forests—and has expanded this commodity list to include packaging fiber and soy supply chains. [12]

To further reduce deforestation, Kellogg integrates recycled and sustainably certified materials into its packaging. Globally, more than 80 percent of Kellogg’s food cartons and nearly half of all corrugated material used to transport products are made from recycled content.  Of the forest product-based packaging material used that is not recycled, more than 99 percent is made from certified sustainably grown virgin fiber.[13]

Turning the supply chain into change agents

As a $14.6 billion food giant, Kellogg is using its clout with suppliers for the good of the environment. Its newly expanded climate policy includes commitments to cover Scope 3 emissions that occur in the supply chain.  And, its global Supplier Code of Conduct includes standards for reducing upstream agriculture emissions—the single largest source of emissions in its supply chain. [14]  

As it asks more from its suppliers, Kellogg is also giving more. In support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Kellogg is committed to bring research and training on climate-smart agriculture to more than 500,000 farmers during the next 15 years. In Mexico, it is now part of a public-private partnership called MasAgro dedicated to providing smallholder farmers with sustainable farming practices and systems that increase crop capacity without adding to global warming. [15]

Experts say global food production will need to increase by at least 70 percent by 2050 in order to feed a growing population of nine billion.  Kellogg strives to find ways to feed more people with less land and natural resources—and with less environmental impact. [16]  It’s a huge challenge, but for this global food company a new day is dawning and Kellogg is embracing the opportunity to rise and shine as a climate change champion.

[3] Kellogg’s CDP 2014 climate change response

US$14.6 B
Consumer Staples