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Tyson Sets Emissions, Renewable-Energy Targets

Protein producer looks to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions globally by 2050
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Tyson Foods has announced several new emissions and energy targets as part of the protein giant's stated commitment to "prioritize sustainability within every facet" of the company's operations.

Chief among those targets is an aim to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions globally by 2050. That goal, Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson noted in a news release, was approved by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi), a collaboration among not-for-profit groups including the World Wide Fund for Nature and the United Nations Global Compact.

More than 270 companies worldwide have committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 through a campaign led by SBTi, the UN Global Compact and the We Mean Business coalition, according to the SBTi's website; Tyson stated that it is the first U.S.-based protein company to have an emissions reduction target approved by the SBTi.

"We believe progress requires accountability and transparency, and we are proud to exemplify that as we work to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions," Tyson Chief Sustainability Officer John Tyson said in the company's news release. "We hope to continue to push the industry as a leader and remain committed to making a positive impact on our planet with our team members, consumers and customers, and in the communities we serve."

The net-zero goal expands upon Tyson's existing effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030. As part of Tyson's new plan, which includes cutting all indirect upstream and downstream emissions in the company's business chain, Tyson will aim to use 50% renewable energy in the U.S. by 2030, eliminating deforestation risk throughout the global supply chain by 2030 and broadening the existing target of 5 million acres of grazing lands for sustainable beef production practices by 2025. 

Jenny Ahlen, senior director at the Environmental Defense Fund, expressed eagerness to work with Tyson on building out an action plan to meet the company's ambitions. "Success will be determined by what follows next, because the hard work is only beginning," she said in the release. 

Tyson also released its fiscal 2020 sustainability progress report and debuted a new online environmental, social and governance (ESG) hub offering further detail on the company's sustainability initiatives and progress. Against a backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic and associated spikes in meat demand and supply-chain challenges, Tyson's greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2020 over 2016 levels, the company noted in its progress report. However, the company cited progress against its 2030 emissions-reduction goal through the establishment of facility-level emissions and energy targets and investments in a more fuel-efficient fleet. 

"Our key focus in fiscal year 2021 will be on energy optimization within our refrigeration systems, team member education and engagement with internal and external stakeholders to identify additional areas for improvement," the company said in its report.

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