International food retailer Ahold Delhaize announced today a significant acceleration and extension of its climate goals, including a new target to reach net-zero carbon emissions in its operations no later than 2040, across its entire supply chain, products, and services no later than 2050.

In addition to its new goals, Ahold Delhaize announced it is joining the Business Ambition for 1.5 C, a campaign led by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) with support of UN agencies, businesses, sustainability-focused organizations, and industry leaders, calling on companies to commit to set ambitious science-based emissions reduction targets in line with a 1.5°C future.

Frans Muller, CEO Ahold Delhaize, said:

 “As a 150-year-old company, we are committed to doing our part and ensure we can keep serving our customers and communities in a responsible way for the next 150 years.”

The new commitments add to Ahold Delhaize’s interim climate goals, launched last year, which include reducing absolute emissions from its brands’ operations, encompassing the company’s stores, distribution centers, operations, and offices, by 50% by 2030, from a 2018 baseline. Some of the initiatives outlined by the company towards achieving these goals include replacing or retrofitting refrigerator systems, transitioning some brands to 100% renewable electricity by 2023, building stores to be energy efficient, switching to low carbon heating, converting transportation fleet to zero-carbon alternatives, and applying an internal carbon price model into investment proposals from its local brands.

Value chain emissions – those not directly under the company’s control – are typically much more difficult to address, and make up a significantly greater part of most companies’ emissions footprints. According to sustainable investor engagement initiative Climate Action 100+, in order to meet science-based emissions reduction targets, individual companies and the sector as a whole will need to address emissions from areas including agriculture and land use, with a total reduction in land-based Scope 3 emissions of 85% necessary to reach net-zero by 2050.

Ahold Delhaize and its brands have committed to long-term science-based targets to achieve net zero value chain by 2050. According to the company, agriculture represents the biggest opportunity to reduce Scope 3 emissions, where the company’s brands focus on partnering with farmers, incentivizing sustainable change through longer-term contracts with concrete environmental requirements, and co-investments on their farms. The food retailer stated that a detailed plan for scope 3 will follow in the next 12 months.

Daniella Vega, Global Senior Vice President Health & Sustainability, said:

 “Ahold Delhaize’s local brands work with thousands of farmers and suppliers who create hundreds of thousands of products. We consider this a huge responsibility and a huge opportunity. The brands can drive supplier engagement and work with them to protect and restore forests and other ecosystems.”

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