Food companies commit to Climate Data Initiative

by Keith Nunes
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WASHINGTON — On July 29 the White House Council of Economic Advisers released a report detailing why the United States must act immediately to stem the potential effects of climate change. On the same day, the Obama administration highlighted the role food and agriculture is playing in its Climate Data Initiative.

Established in March 2014, the Climate Data Initiative is designed to leverage the federal government’s open data resources to stimulate innovation that may allow businesses and consumers to take action against climate change. The National Climate Assessment, released in May 2014, showed that climate disruptions to agriculture have been increasing, are projected to become more severe during this century, and that climate-change effects on agriculture will have consequences for food security, both nationally and globally, through changes in crop yields and food prices.

The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, for example, committed to expanding the application of its Field-to-Market program and its data-driven tool to quantify water, fertilizer and energy use, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Coca-Cola said that by the end of the year it will launch initiatives with two of its four leading suppliers to implement the program. By the end of 2015, Coca-Cola will aim to engage farmers representing 250,000 acres, and by 2020, up to 1 million acres, which equates to roughly 50% of the company’s global corn supply.

PepsiCo, Inc., Purchase, N.Y., announced the installation of a 1.7 megawatt solar photovoltaic system that is designed to supply 3.3 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy to the company’s processing plant in Tolleson, Ariz. PepsiCo said it will use data from the solar project to help inform future solar installations.

Nestle S.A., Vevey, Switzerland, committed to setting greenhouse gas reduction targets and incorporating both absolute carbon and carbon intensity into its efforts.

The Monsanto Co., St. Louis, is donating a multi-site/multi-year maize breeding trial dataset to open data portals maintained by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture and the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project. The company said opening the data will make it possible for public- and private-sector scientists to improve models being used to understand how climate and water availability changes will impact crop productivity.
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