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Food giant Nestlé has pledged to spend €3 billion in the next five years to slash its greenhouse gas emissions.

Last year the Swiss conglomerate announced it would ‘accelerate action’ to tackle climate change and committed to zero net emissions by 2050.

However, Chief Executive Mark Schneider has recently said the company will not ‘walk away’ from meat and dairy – despite their impact on the planet. 

‘A more carbon-efficient way’

“We want to make them in a more carbon-efficient way,” he told the Financial Times. “If we . . . walk away from [those divisions] and the emissions continue unabated, the world is not better off.”

Nestlé’s Head of Operations Magdi Batato also said the brand was trialing alternatives to cow feed -including seaweed and algae – to try and reduce the amount of methane released. 

Despite backing meat production, Schneider did add: “We need to change the way agriculture is done and we need to shift consumer preferences towards plant-based food and beverages. It’s truly a long-term undertaking.”

‘Predominantly plant-based’

Earlier this year, research from an international team led by the University of Oxford found slashing our use of fossil fuel use is essential to meet global climate targets. But is not enough unless we also transform the global food system.

In fact, scientists say, even if fossil fuel emissions stop immediately, emissions from the global food system alone could increase global temperatures by more than 1.5°C.

Dr. Michael Clark is from The Oxford Martin School and Nuffield Department of Population Health. In a statement sent to Plant Based News, he said: “Discussions on mitigating climate change typically focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, for instance, from transportation or energy production. 

“However, our research emphasizes the importance of reducing emissions from the global food system… The most important is for individuals to shift towards predominantly plant-based diets.”

Liam Giliver

Liam is the former Deputy Editor of Plant Based News. He has written for The Independent, Huffington Post, Attitude Magazine, and more. He is also the author of 'We're Worried About Him'.