We Grow Sustainably
We are balancing business growth with environmental sustainability. With the Yum! franchise system opening new restaurants every day, it’s important that we use our scale for good to minimize the environmental impact of our restaurants and supply chain.
Recipe Notes: Sustainability Solutions Driven by Data
with Jon Hixson,
Yum! Vice President of Global Government Affairs & Sustainability
Q: How has Yum!’s approach to environmental issues changed in recent years?
A: We’ve made strong progress on our sustainability agenda through efforts to operate green buildings and foster a responsible supply chain.
Now, we’re taking a more focused look at climate change, the most important environmental issue that we manage and the one that encompasses all other issues. We’re asking ourselves questions like, “What are a global restaurant company’s most significant contributions to climate change?” and, “How can Yum! mitigate our impact and be part of the solution?”
Q: Where are you finding answers to these questions?
A: Yum! learned much from our research on setting science-based targets (SBTs) for GHG emissions. Our research project involved six phases of work, which ultimately outline a path for Yum! to reduce our emissions to levels aligned with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
We are working with a third-party partner to assess our current GHG footprint and identify the most promising abatement measures, both in terms of GHG reduction potential and cost of implementation.
Q: Supply chain emissions can be complex to manage because they involve many variables that are beyond your control. How will Yum! address these indirect climate impacts?
A: Prioritization and focus are important when it comes to addressing climate issues. Emissions from purchased goods and our buildings account for about 94% of our Scope 3 emissions.
Within purchased goods of food, more than three-fourths of those emissions are from beef, dairy and chicken. In terms of absolute GHG emissions, one of our largest areas of focus must be our U.S. food supply chain where we purchase large volumes of beef, dairy and chicken. We also know that the impact is greater when animals are raised on or receive feed ingredients from freshly deforested or converted land. As part of our risk assessment and strategy, we reviewed research and data from the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Office, which monitors the emissions from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULCF). After looking at global food systems emissions, carbon sinks and LULCF, we developed strategic priorities for our work on climate change and sustainability.
We continue to engage with and improve all elements of our supply chain. In addition, through review of our own supply chain and global research, we will focus on the U.S. and a handful of tropical regions in Asia and Latin America that are critical to the world’s food supply. In partnership with WWF, we are exploring ways to identify and remove deforestation in our supply chain, which includes both shifting our sourcing and engaging with suppliers in higher-risk areas to promote more sustainable practices. It’s this kind of thinking that will allow Yum! to address climate change in a truly holistic way.
Climate Change Management
Of the issues that Yum! must manage, climate change is among the most urgent and important. Our company is in the process of developing science-based targets (SBTs). These targets will build on our decade-long track record of making progress and will help ensure that we continue to make progress in the most impactful ways possible.
Determine GHG Footprint
Determine Yum!’s scope 1, 2, 3 GHG footprint based on Yum! survey data.
Develop a GHG Reduction Target
Develop a GHG reduction target that aligns with the methodologies and requirements of SBTi.
Identify Emissions Reduction Initiatives
Review relevant GHG categories and abatement options. Develop marginal abatement cost curves that help us understand costs and prioritize various abatement measures.
Create Roadmap and Management Decision Package
Show Yum! how to meet its GHG reduction target.
We have long been committed to reducing our environmental impact by minimizing deforestation risk. To support further progress toward no deforestation and using our scale to positively impact the broader industry, we endorsed the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) and the private sector goal of eliminating deforestation from the production of agriculture commodities such as palm oil, soy, paper and beef products. To meet this goal, we are strengthening our efforts and making process in the following four areas:
We are making solid progress toward our goal, currently at 76%, to purchase 100% of our paper-based packaging with fiber from responsibly managed forests and recycled sources by the end of 2020.
A key part of our strategy is sourcing beef from areas of low risk when it comes to deforestation. Beef sourced from Brazil is associated with a high risk of tropical deforestation. In 2019, less than 1% of beef served at Yum! restaurants was reported to come from this region.
In 2019, we achieved our goal of sourcing 100% of palm oil used for cooking from responsibly managed sources, with third party certification from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
Soy, which is often used in chicken feed, contributes to deforestation in certain parts of the world. We will focus initially on the direct sourcing of poultry purchasing from high risk areas. In 2019, 100% of Brazilian feed mills in our supply chain were audited as compliant in aligning with the Amazon Soy Moratorium.
Yum! is committed to first reducing, and then mindfully reusing or recycling, the waste generated at our restaurants. Making meaningful progress in this area requires us to confront a number of challenges, from a changing global recycling market to a patchwork of regulations in the U.S. and countries worldwide. At the Yum! corporate and brand levels, we plan to reach a number of packaging waste milestones over the next several years.