Scope 3 for a Sustainable Food System: An analysis of voluntary food & beverage processing corporate emissions reporting to CDP

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Gordon Geballe
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This study uses 2018 CDP data to investigate food & beverage processing companies’ scope 3 GHG emissions disclosure, in an effort to contribute to the improvement of corporate reporting and supply chain sustainability. The questions driving this research include: what is the current state of GHG emissions reporting, particularly scope 3 disclosure, in the food & beverage processing sector? What distinguishes companies with the best disclosure practices? And what explains emissions levels among firms? The study finds that 1) companies are less likely to report scope 3 than scope 1 or 2 emissions, and the average company reports only 3.48 scope 3 categories. 2) The most relevant scope 3 category is Purchased Goods, and companies that report it tend to comment on data method and inclusions, not future goals. Campbell’s is an outlier in scope 3 emissions totals, but is actually an example of best reporting practices. 3) EPI score and UNFCCC negotiating group of a company’s headquarter country are significant predictor of scope 3 disclosure by category. Firm size (by revenue) is the only significant predictor of direct and energy-related (scopes 1 and 2) emissions. EPI score is significantly correlated with better emissions performance, while firm size is not.