Del Monte Foods reports emissions reduction, sets net-zero goal for 2050

By Staff
4 Min Read

Dive Brief:

  • Del Monte Foods has decreased its greenhouse gas emissions and set new carbon reduction goals to reach net-zero status by mid-century, the company said last week in its latest ESG report.
  • The food production and distribution company set near-term targets for 2030, including a commitment to make 100% of plastic packaging either recyclable, reusable or compostable. Del Monte is also looking to advance crop breeding practices and regenerative strategies to decrease reliance on conventional fertilizers.
  • The company’s scope 1 emissions dropped by 19%, scope 2 by 2.5% and scope 3 by 5.6%, all relative to a 2021 baseline, according to the report. Del Monte calculated its carbon reduction goals in line with the Science Based Target initiative’s standards for land-intensive sectors, which it aims to submit next year.

Dive Insight:

The company, one of the nation’s largest producers and distributors of processed food items, said the majority of its carbon footprint is driven by scope 3 emissions, which made up 95.6% of its emissions last year. Scope 1 accounted for 3%, while scope 2 accounted for only 1.4%.

According to the company’s assessment of its scope 3 emissions, consumption of its products — which includes cooking and consumer storage, product and packaging end-of-life treatment — contributed the most to these emissions, accounting for 26%. Ingredients, which include farming and processing operations, made up 15% of scope 3 emissions.

Del Monte said it set a 2025 goal to measure scope 3 third-party emissions and conducted a complete supply chain carbon emissions assessment — which included scope 3 — to better curb these emissions.

“We understand that our production and operations have a major impact on the health of our planet and society,” Greg Longstreet, Del Monte’s president and CEO, said in the report. “[As] a plant-based company from the start, we have the foundation and the responsibility to continue proactively leading the food industry in creating stronger sustainability practices.”

Del Monte — home to brands such as Fruit Cup Snacks, Contadina Roma tomatoes and Joyba Bubble Teas — said it also aims to reduce its food waste through upcycling, which entails using edible food that would have been discarded otherwise. The company also said it is looking for solutions to divert food waste from landfills and has set a goal to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills from its manufacturing plants by 4%.

The company also aims to expand regenerative agriculture and seed breeding practices to bring down emissions in farming. Del Monte created a collaborative effort among its tomato growers to share best practices in regenerative farming, and advances in green bean breeding to help increase crop yield with less fertilizer.

On the energy front, Del Monte said it had purchased “energy-efficient equipment” for new installations in its processing plants and was exploring ways it could reduce consumption of electricity and natural gas through using its existing equipment. Electrical energy made up 17% of the company’s overall scope 1 and 2 emissions — prompting Del Monte to shift to renewable energy to accelerate its path to net-zero status, per the report.

The new sustainability goals come as consumers are demanding more transparency from food companies, ranging from where they source ingredients to their labor practices. A 2022 study from Cargill found that 55% of global consumers are more likely to purchase a packaged food item labeled with a sustainability claim.

Sarah Zimmerman contributed to this story.

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