Mondelēz International attains key Science Based Targets Initiative validation, as scheme faces scrutiny

Mondelēz International has confirmed its environmental performance on becoming ‘deforestation free’ for key ingredients of cocoa, palm and soy by 2025 is on track, as its short-term 2030  greenhouse gas reduction targets are validated by the Science Based Targets (SBTi) initiative, reports Neill Barston.

The globally recognised framework of standards has been adopted by a number of major corporations and businesses around the world, including international companies operating within the confectionery and snacks space, designed around a three tier system to focus on cutting carbon emissions.

These categories include Scope 1, governing directly controlled company emissions, Scope 2 categories concern areas of indirect factors such as energy produced to operate buildings, while scope 3 relates to issues within a supply chain, namely business travel, commuting and emissions arising from sold products.

For its part, Mondelēz stated it remained on course for its net zero targets by 2050, which are linked to the international Paris Agreement on limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, as well as reducing pollution levels by 45% by 2030 to attain the longer-term goal.

“We are proud to have SBTi approve our 2030 targets and our 2050 net-zero target as it further strengthens our commitment to more sustainable snacking,” said Christine Montenegro McGrath, Chief Impact and Sustainability Officer. “We are on our way toward our net-zero ambition and helping make sustainability a reality.”

“Our ESG approach is designed to enable us to deliver lasting change at scale by prioritizing where we can have the greatest impact, focusing on innovative and measurable solutions, and collaborating to drive sector-wide transformation,” said Chairman and CEO Dirk van de Put. “We’ve taken an end-to-end approach in our aim to reach our net-zero emissions goal by focusing efforts across key areas and delivering against existing goals.”

As the company noted, it has made key progress against these goals in 2023, including: reducing end-to-end CO2e emissions by 3.7%, on track for a 35% reduction end-to-end by 2030 (from a 2018 base year).
In 2023, 48% of the electricity used in its manufacturing sites was also reportedly renewable, compared to 40% in 2022. In 2023, a total of 96% of its packaging was designed to be recyclable.

Science based targets concerns
While the key development from the company has highlighted significant progress, it comes as staff within the Science Based Targets organisation have voiced issues relating to the wider enforcement of the programme, delivering an open letter to its board of directors.The communication expressed concern at its intention to permit Scope 3 emissions to allow ‘carbon credits,’ otherwise known as carbon offsetting, bought by a company to be considered towards their performance figures (one credit is equating to one tonne of pollution).

Furthermore, an additional separate letter has been sent to the SBTI group and the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative signed by key groups including Carbon Market Watch, the NewClimate Institute, Greenpeace and BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation, adding its joint concerns at what it viewed as a weakening of established protocols of the scheme.

It read: “Addressing scope 3 emissions is a critical task, yet it presents an enormous challenge for most companies. Neither measuring nor reducing scope 3 emissions is an easy task, and many companies are only beginning to grapple with this challenge. For some companies, reducing their scope 3 emissions is technically feasible, but requires a fundamental change in their business model. Yet, scope 3 emissions represent the vast majority of most companies’ footprint. Measurement difficulty does not negate the fact that these emissions are also the responsibility of the concerned company.

“We are greatly concerned by the growing narrative and attempt by VCMI and others to legitimise the use of carbon credits to “address” scope 3 emissions, or otherwise give the impression that buying carbon credits is equivalent, or even relevant, to meeting a scope 3 reduction target. For example, the scope 3 flexibility “beta” guidance published by VCMI could be a major setback for climate action.”



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