10 food companies that are making the climate crisis worse

Major brands aren't doing enough to reduce emissions, a new report finds -- and are putting themselves at risk

Lindsay Abrams
May 20, 2014 6:35PM (UTC)

As climate change worsens, the first thing to go will be breakfast. That's according to a new report from Oxfam, which calls out the "Big 10" food and beverage companies helping to drive the planet toward catastrophe -- and shooting themselves in the foot in the process.

Thanks to greenhouse gases emitted throughout their supply chains, the 10 companies named in the report -- Associated British Foods, Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelez International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever -- could combine to rank as the 25th most polluting country in the world. Were they to make a concerted effort to do better, the report finds, they could be capable of reducing their combined emissions by 80 million tons by 2020 -- the equivalent of taking all the cars in Los Angeles, Beijing, London and New York off the road.


This table, from the report, shows the scant progress they've made toward that end:

Pointedly, the report identifies these companies both as significant contributors to global warming and, at the same time, as those likely to be hit particularly hard by the climate crisis. Most pertinently, for the breakfast-inclined, the report finds that the price of classic cereal favorites will soar over the next 15 years: As staple crops like rice, wheat and corn become more expensive (due to climate change, on top of inflation), so too will Frosted Flakes (20 percent more expensive by 2030), Corn Flakes (30 percent more expensive) and Kix (12 to 24 percent more expensive). Coffee, Oxfam notes, is also facing significant price hikes.


The fossil fuel industry, the report contends, remains the biggest "climate villain." But food companies, it argues, are not only contributing an outsize amount to climate change, they're also wasting a valuable platform, "failing to use their experience, leadership, and power to transform their own industry and push for the level of climate action the world needs" and instead remaining "silent accomplices to this unfolding crisis."

Lindsay Abrams

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Breakfast Climate Change Coca-cola General Mills Mars Nestle Oxfam Pepsico Unilever

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