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Kerry Group’s ambition to become a net-zero business before 2050 is laid out in its latest sustainability strategy

Above and beyond

Article appeared in issue 5, 2020

Earlier this month, Kerry Group, the global taste and nutrition company, released details of its latest sustainability strategy, Beyond the Horizon, which aims to provide sustainable nutrition solutions to over two billion people daily, by 2030.

Sustainable nutrition refers, it says, to positive and balanced nutrition solutions that help maintain good health and which are created in a way that does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their nutritional needs. Using an externally validated UK nutrient profiling model and independent expert recommendations, the group has developed a framework to nutritionally assess its portfolio, and more than 80% delivers balanced and positive nutrition for consumers.

Commenting on the announcement, Edmond Scanlon, chief executive officer of Kerry Group, said: “The food industry plays a crucial role in society and has long recognised the need to transform to meet conflicting challenges such as obesity, malnutrition and food waste, all while facing a growing pressure on resources. Supplying the right nutrition, in the right quantities, in the right way, is how we will collectively solve this challenge. Beyond the Horizon will help consumers eat better, improve our local communities, and reduce the environmental impact, while also meeting both Kerry’s and our customers’ goals.”

The strategy sets out the company’s ambitious sustainability targets across nutrition and health, emissions, energy, circular economy, raw materials, and social impact. On climate action, it aims to become a net-zero business before 2050 and to achieve this, has signed up to a 33% reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 2030; intends sourcing 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and is working to improve water efficiency by 15% by 2025.

In response to the need for action on plastics, the group is expanding on earlier commitments. In 2018, its consumer foods division adopted targets for all plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 and this policy is now being adopted across the entire business. In addition, the company hopes to reduce the amount of virgin plastic used across the group by 25% over the same period.

Taking the target from the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Kerry aims to halve its food waste by 2030. Where food waste is created through production processes, by 2025, it will be diverted and upcycled towards other productive uses and no food waste will go to landfill.

Fair wages, workers’ rights and protection of ecosystems are integral to food security and Kerry’s aim is that all priority raw materials are responsibly sourced by 2030. This will be achieved through a mix of certification, verification, and collaboration with supply partners.

Biodiversity is a growing global concern and the company intends to build on its commitment to no deforestation across key supply chains by 2025, and will look for certification for raw material categories linked with forest loss, including palm oil, paper, soy and meat. It is also exploring farm-level programmes that balance agricultural production with the preservation of local biodiversity.

Juan Aguiriano, head of sustainability for Kerry Group, said: “As part of Beyond the Horizon, we are setting science-based climate targets that will see us reduce our emissions across our operations and supply chains as we work towards net-zero emissions. We are supporting a more circular approach on plastics and waste with a target for all plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and we will ensure that all our priority raw materials are sustainably sourced by the end of the decade. Together, our commitments will create a world of sustainable nutrition, contributing to the ambition articulated across the UN Sustainable Development Goals to help both the planet and society thrive. We understand that this is not a journey we can undertake alone, and we are committed to working with our customers to co-create and innovate for more sustainable consumer diets.”

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