Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the seafood supply chain at Nomad Foods

Nomad Foods, a leading producer of frozen seafood, has set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Nomad Foods is Europe’s leading frozen food company and is behind some of the UK’s most popular seafood brands including Birds Eye and Findus. This case study looks at the efforts Nomad is making to minimise carbon emissions across their supply chain. To achieve this the company has set ambitious, science-based targets on improving sustainability.  

Tackling climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing food production globally. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that food production accounts for between 21-37% of global human carbon emissions.  

Whilst food production is a driver of climate change, it is also a sector that is impacted by the results of climate change; increased temperatures, unpredictable weather patterns, incidents of drought and flooding all impact food production and food security at a global scale. As a result, many businesses are now taking action to reduce their environmental impact. 

The need for companies to act on climate change 

“Our purpose at Nomad Foods is to serve the world with better food,” says Stuart Caborn, Chief Procurement Officer at Nomad Foods, “And an important part of our sustainability strategy is improving sourcing decisions and supply chain processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” 

“In 2021 we have seen major environmental incidents across the globe like forest fires in North America and severe flooding in Europe. These incidents are exacerbated by climate change,” says Stuart, “Climate change is bigger than any corporate goal or target, but we believe that all businesses have a responsibility to make changes to help reduce emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.” 

In September 2021 Nomad Foods set new targets for reducing emissions as part of the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The SBTi helps businesses develop a clear and credible path to reducing emissions in line with latest climate science. More than 1,000 businesses worldwide are already working with the SBTi.  

What does Nomad Foods hope to achieve? 

The launch of Nomad Foods SBTi targets represents the next step in company’s sustainability strategy, originally set out in 2018, which includes a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions across business operations by 45% per tonne of product produced by 2025 compared to the 2019 baseline.  

As a nation the UK has set a target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, Nomad Foods aims to get there well before 2050 and deliver against the shorter-term targets.   

“Annelie Selander, Group Sustainability Director at Nomad Foods says, “We need action here and now, that is why we set shorter-term targets. Our 2025 target on emissions is part of the wider journey, not the end goal.” 

Working towards clear targets on energy use and minimising food waste helped Nomad Foods reduce carbon emissions per tonne of finished products by 21% and absolute emissions by 11% in 2020 alone. This was despite a dramatic increase in food production because of the Covid-19 pandemic and high consumer demand for frozen seafood. 

“By the end of 2021 all Nomad Foods factories will be powered by 100% renewable energy; this is an important milestone in our sustainability journey,” explains Annelie.  

As well as reviewing energy consumption the company will focus on minimising food waste; in 2021 Nomad Foods signed up to the 10X20X30 initiative which brings together some of the world’s largest food retailers and suppliers to work towards halving food waste by 2030. WRAP, the Waste & Resources Action Programme, estimates that globally around one third of all food produced is wasted which contributes between 8 and 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions 

What are the benefits of reducing emissions? 

Reducing emissions is often associated with increased efficiency. Reducing emissions has an obvious environmental benefit and can often have an economic benefit. However, reducing emissions can also change the way consumers view a business.  

“Many consumers see the issue of climate change but think “this issue is too big for me to tackle”. Instead, they expect brands to take action to reduce emissions,” says Annelie, “We work hard to provide high quality products that are also sourced and produced sustainably.  

Find out more information on Nomad Foods’ sustainability strategy