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World's big CPG firms make sustainability pledge


The world’s largest food manufacturers and grocery chains pledged Monday to help eliminate global deforestation and to begin phasing out their use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that contribute to global warming.

The pledge by the Consumer Goods Forum, an association made up of 400 top global consumer goods companies, including Coca-Cola, General Mills and Unilever, as well as retailers such as Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour and Kroger, was made in Paris on the first day of the Cancun Climate Summit.

On deforestation, Consumer Goods Forum members admitted that products they buy such as palm oil, beef, paper and soya contribute to deforestation. They promised to do their part to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020.

"We believe that our industry has a responsibility to purchase these commodities in a way which encourages producers not to expand into forested areas. Our task is to develop specific action plans for the different challenges of sourcing commodities,” Terry Leahy, Tesco’s CEO, said in a statement.

On refrigerants, the Consumer Goods Forum said it would stop using HFCs in refrigeration systems by 2015 and instead use non-HFC refrigerants.

HFCs are a source of greenhouse gases and this is the first time Consumer Goods Forum membership has collectively agreed to do something about them.

The Consumer Goods Forum, which was formed last year, is quickly becoming the de facto worldwide assocation for food manufacturers and retailers. Its Canadian members include Sobeys, Longo’s and McCain as well as the big three associations: CCGD, CFIG and FCPC.

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