ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts that the country has seen in half a century. El Niño has hit the country hard, and for a resource-poor nation like Ethiopia, fighting its effects is proven challenging.
Ethiopia will not be the only country in the world facing these kinds of dire problems.
Oxfam EU Policy Advisor on Climate Change and Global Food Security, Lies Craeynest, says that “at least 60 million people are certain to face worsening hunger and poverty throughout 2016 because of drought and crop failures fueled by a super El Niño, a weather phenomenon that has been super-charged by climate change.”
Climate change refers to a rise in global surface temperatures that lead to subsequent changes in long-term weather patterns. It is caused by the increased release of carbon footprint, also known as, greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere.
Organizations and manufacturing companies are some of the biggest emitters of these greenhouse gases and consequently, they have very large carbon footprints. According to the Carbon Disclosure Project, direct emissions from 417 large global companies account for 5.8 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
In a bid to reverse the negative climate change effects that are being witnessed worldwide, the five companies below are streamlining their operations to incorporate more sustainable practices that could see them substantially reduce their carbon footprints.
Coca-Cola is striving to achieve sustainability throughout its supply chain. It has a goal of reducing the carbon footprint of “the drink in your hand” by 25 percent by 2020. In order to achieve this goal, the company has made changes in its manufacturing program specifically in its packaging formats, delivery fleets, refrigeration equipment and ingredient sourcing.
Coca-Cola identified that its global fleet of trucks emitted about 3.7 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2014. This was approximately 4 percent of the value chain emissions. The company is gradually adding delivery trucks that are powered by a mix of alternative fuels such as biodiesel, natural gas and diesel/electric to reduce the greenhouse emissions of its fleet.
International Beer and soft drink manufacturer, SAB Miller, announced that it was changing how its brewing ingredients are prepared in a move that will help to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
SAB Miller, has piloted a program in its Mwanza brewery in Tanzania, where it is using a technique known as dry de-husking (DDH) that allows for use of less energy during the brewing process.
Thomas Brewer, Engineering Manager at SABMiller, explained: “By using DDH in Mwanza Brewery we have made a significant improvement in energy efficiency and emissions, with no impact on our traditional brewing techniques or the quality and taste of the beers that we brew there.”
In the computing world, Dell has rolled out a series of programs that will help the company reduce carbon emissions while saving money.
Dell is now making its packing materials and computers out of more recycled material. For its packaging, the company is using wheat straw which is a by-product from wheat harvesting. The new packaging uses 40 percent less energy to produce, 90 percent less water and is more affordable to make than traditional packaging.
The company has also launched a new program that involves utilizing scraps of fiber in making Dell’s business and gaming computers.
Ford Motor Company
The Ford Motor Company has vowed to play its part in cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions from both its operations and its products. Ford is one of the leading manufacturers in a sector that produces 14 percent of the total global GHG emissions.
The company developed an Eco-boost engine which improves fuel efficiencies by 20 percent. Ford Motors also offers six electrified vehicle ((EV) options in the U.S. and Canada. The company is working with Sun Power and the Sierra club to offer EV customers with solar PV arrays for emission-free driving.
In efforts to use more renewable energy, the company has teamed up with the Wind Energy Corporation to install wind sail and solar PV systems at Ford Dealerships to power buildings and EV charging stations. Ford has also successfully managed to reduce its global water use by 61 percent.
Nutrition, health and wellness company, Nestlé has consistently been recognized as a leader in climate change mitigation and adaptation. The company has been ranked first in a number of sustainability indexes and scorecards such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index where it was the leading food products company.
By 2014, Nestlé had phased out 92 percent of its industrial refrigerants replacing them with more environmental friendly natural refrigerants. In Mexico, 85 percent of the electricity being used in Nestlé Factories is being sourced from one of the largest wind farms in the country. Nestlé is also using spent coffee grounds as a supplement fuel in more than 22 of its factories worldwide.
Marianne Fay, the World Bank Group’s chief economist for climate change, says that “global warming represents an immediate and direct threat to poverty alleviation.”
With this in mind, governments and organizations it is good to see major companies pursuing climate smart developments that will protect poor and vulnerable populations.