Why Greenhouse Gas Emissions Matter To Farms

May 22, 2017 02:57 PM

If you’ve considered measuring greenhouse gas emissions on your farm operation, now is the perfect opportunity to take action. Across agriculture and industries, carbon emissions come from indirect supply chain sources versus direct operational activities at a ratio of 4:1, according to the Global Supply Chain Report 2017 from CDP. The organization works with investors and purchasers to gather and disclose environmental data while limiting companies’ environmental footprint.

The finding suggests food manufacturers, food retailers and other companies with connections to farmers will increasingly look to suppliers—including food processors and even farmers—to take a leadership role in cutting back emissions.  

The decision to reach farther into the supply chain is part of a growing movement to hold businesses accountable for their environmental footprint. Companies such as General Mills, PepsiCo and General Motors are among industry leaders that have taken measures to source raw materials sustainably, says Aaron Ziulkowski, a senior environmental, social and governance analyst with Boston-based Walden Asset Management.

“Addressing climate change can be good for business,” says Ziulkowski, speaking this week at the 2017 Sustainable Brands conference in Detroit. His firm is one of the oldest ethical investment houses in the U.S. with a history dating to the Vietnam War, when investors sought to place funds in companies they viewed as activing socially and environmentally responsible. 

Today, there is “huge demand” for ethics-based financial products on a much broader scale, Ziulkowski says. Although companies continue to need comprehensive governance to assess and manage climate risk, there is growing evidence that businesses see opportunities to make money by mitigating climate risk and even collaborating with other companies to drive change, he says.

“I’m not sure companies can afford not to care about what’s going on in the supply chain,” he says.

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