KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut to use science-based targets

KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut owner Yum! Brands has committed to pursuing a science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its operations, franchises and supply chain and to explore purchasing renewable energy.

The commitment came after investors agreed to withdraw a shareholder resolution proposal filed by Sister Marge Clark of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, supported by Francis Sherman of Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment and the sustainability non-profit organisation Ceres. The proposal called on the company to study the feasibility of setting targets for increasing the company's use of renewable energy and other climate change mitigation strategies.

“Global Restaurant Companies like Yum! Brands are well-positioned to minimise risk and capture opportunities by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Clark. “As shareholders, we’re particularly encouraged by the company’s agreement to tackle not only the emissions from the company and its franchisees but those in its agricultural supply chain -- which make up the lion’s share -- as well.”

Yum is working with a consulting firm to more comprehensively assess the greenhouse gas emissions from their supply chain (known as Scope 3 emissions). Jon Hixson, vice president for global government affairs and sustainability for Yum stated: “To continue on this journey across our brands, franchises and suppliers, our study will initially evaluate our greenhouse gas (GHG) data to better understand our footprint, to help refine GHG reduction targets and to identify emission reduction initiatives, such as renewables and conservation measures, to further improve our environmental performance on the path to developing approved science-based targets."

Yum! Brands’ commitment to begin the process of setting a science-based emissions reduction goal comes one year after McDonald’s became the first restaurant chain in the world to set an approved science-based target.

Investors have recently ratcheted up pressure on the fast food sector around its greenhouse gas emissions and its exposure to climate, water and deforestation risks. In January, the sustainability non-profit organization Ceres and the investor network FAIRR Initiative coordinated a group of 80 investors, with more than $6.5 trillion in assets under management to publicly urge the 6 largest US fast food companies (including Yum! Brands’) to address exposure to climate, water and deforestation risks associated with their meat and dairy supply chains.

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