Tyson to create protein coalition

Firm puts focus on sustainability

Tyson Foods Inc. on Tuesday said it will form a global coalition of protein producers, academics and environmental and human-rights groups to address social and environmental issues tied to the food industry.

To mark the start of the Coalition for Global Protein, Tyson will host the group's first meeting this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to unite attendees and discuss new ways of sustainably feeding the world's growing population.

These efforts come as companies continue taking steps to be more "green." Last week, Microsoft rolled out extensive plans to be carbon negative -- removing more carbon from the atmosphere than it generates -- by 2030 as others strive to be carbon neutral. Starbucks on Tuesday outlined goals to curb emissions by offering more plant-based food and drink options and shifting from single-use to reusable packaging.

Tyson Foods, which produces about 20% of all the chicken, beef and pork sold in America, is in the thick of the sustainability discussion. Food production systems contribute between 21% and 37% of the world's greenhouse gases, according to a paper published last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They are also contributors to deforestation, biodiversity loss and declining water tables.

Tyson and others are aware of the implications and are working with third-party groups to remedy them. Tyson plans to reduce greenhouse gases by 30% by 2030, improve land stewardship practices on 2 million acres of corn, and reduce water use this year. It also is working to identify deforestation risks across the company's supply chain.

"We want to help ensure the responsible production of affordable, nutritious food for generations to come," Noel White, Tyson's chief executive officer, said in a statement Tuesday. "We are introducing this coalition because we know that we cannot achieve this alone."

Lawrence Haddad, executive director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, is scheduled to moderate the meeting this week in Davos. The focus of the group is to educate others about the hurdles in feeding a growing population with more varied and sustainable protein options, and to identify new solutions and carry them out in pilot programs, Tyson said. Other goals include reducing food waste and increasing protein access in food deserts, places where people have limited access to quality, nutritious foods.

The coalition is one of the first major efforts led by John R. Tyson, the company's chief sustainability officer and son of the board chairman. In a statement, he said that "we're focused on uniting the world's most influential, food-focused stakeholders around a shared purpose to build a future of protein that is sustainable and equitable across global communities -- at every link in the supply chain."

Business on 01/22/2020