skip to main content

Climate commitments: What are the Scopes, and what is Cargill doing about them?

Read Time: 5 minutes

By Cargill Staff November 17, 2022

Nourishing the world in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way for future generations is a critical and shared challenge for companies like Cargill. To meet the growing urgency around climate change, businesses must reduce their environmental impact. One of the most significant ways companies can do this is by reducing their carbon footprint.

To get a full picture of their carbon footprint, companies classify their carbon emissions into three scopes (Scope 1, 2, and 3 - as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol).

Scope 1, 2, and 3:

Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from operating company-owned and controlled resources - think buildings, vehicles, and equipment. Scope 1 emissions include emissions that are released during industrial processes, on-site manufacturing (e.g., factory fumes, chemicals) as well as emissions from fleet vehicles (e.g. cars, vans, trucks, etc.).

Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy from a utility provider. In other words, all GHG emissions are released from the use of purchased electricity, steam, heat, and cooling. Think of these as indirect emissions you create by "keeping the lights on".

Scope 3 emissions are all indirect emissions - not included in Scope 2 - that result from activities that are not directly owned or controlled by the company, including those that come from suppliers, distributors, partners, and customers. Scope 3 is typically the most significant contributor to a company's carbon footprint because it includes things like:

  • Purchased goods and services
  • Transportation and distribution tied to suppliers and customers
  • Emissions from running farm equipment
  • On-farm fuel usage
  • Fertilizer inputs, pesticides, and herbicide inputs
  • Electricity used for storage

What is Cargill doing to address its GHG footprint?

At Cargill, we are committed to reducing our environmental impact and addressing climate change by taking action in our own operations and supply chains to reduce our greenhouse gas footprint and emissions. We've set science-based commitments and are driving impactful progress against them every day.

Scope 1 & 2:

We've set targets to reduce our operational (Scope 1 and 2) greenhouse gas emissions - those caused directly by our operations - by 10% by 2025, measured against a 2017 baseline. To date, we've reduced our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 5.5% compared to our 2017 baseline.

This year, we invested more than $71 million in emissions-reducing technology and renewable energy projects. by the end of the year, the renewable energy used in our operations reduced our carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by nearly 900,000 metric tons. You read about our renewable energy portfolio here.

Scope 3:

We are focused on reducing our Scope 3 emissions - those produced from sources in our extended supply chain - by 30% per ton of product by 2030. Cargill's Scope 3 emissions result from a wide variety of sources. The most significant include beef, row crops, and transportation.

We continue to make progress against our Scope 3 climate target by focusing on efforts to scale regenerative agriculture practices to 10 million acres in North America through programs like Cargill RegenConnect™ and BeefUp Sustainability.


You can learn more about the progress we're making towards our climate commitments, as well as our other sustainability efforts in our recently published ESG report.