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| Last Updated:17/03/2020

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Climate change may increase cost of cereal and household basics

 The impact of climate change could increase the price of breakfast cereal and other household foods, a report by Oxfam has claimed, which found Kellogg and Nestle are among the world's 'Big 10' food and drink companies who emit more greenhouses gases than Nordic countries combined. 

In their report, Oxfam called on the major food and drink companies to do more to tackle climate change after it found that they were responsible for nearly 264 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2012. 

The international aid agency said the Big 10 included Associated British Foods (ABF), Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelz International, Nestle, PepsiCo and Unilever. Half of the GHG emissions come from the production of agricultural commodities in the companies' supply chains. It also singled out Kellogg and General Mills as among the "worst performers". Only Nestle, Unilever and to some extent Mars and Coca-Cola were vocal in encouraging policy makers and businesses to tackle climate change. 

"The food industry has a moral imperative and a business responsibility to dramatically step up its efforts to tackle climate change," Oxfam's executive director Winnie Byanyima said. The "consequences" include rising food prices for consumers. Oxfam estimates climate change will increase the price of General Mills' Kix cereal by up to 24% and Kellogg's Corn Flakes by 44% over the next 15 years. It warned the companies could face financial ruin if they do not do more to tackle the issues with climate change because of the effects extreme weather conditions could have on production. 

In a statement, Kellogg said: "Kellogg is committed to doing what's right. We are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - along with energy use and water use — by 15-20% at our manufacturing facilities by 2015. Oxfam has recognised our commitment to working with global palm oil suppliers to source fully traceable palm oil, produced in a manner that's environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable." 

General Mills meanwhile said: "Climate change is a serious issue, and as a food company we are very aware of the impact that it could have on agriculture and food supply. We have been engaged in positively influencing climate policy and have been taking steps to reduce GHG emissions."