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04/26/2021

Yum! Brands targets net zero emissions by 2050

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Yum! Brands is cutting greenhouse gas emissions as a cornerstone of its climate change initiative.

The global quick-service restaurant conglomerate is pledging to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Yum! also plans to decrease its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 46% by 2030 in partnership with franchisees, suppliers and producers as part of a broader strategy to address climate change.

Yum!’s climate change strategy will focus primarily on emission reductions at its more than 50,000 corporate and franchise restaurants and throughout its supply chain. By 2030, Yum! intends to cut GHG emissions generated by its corporate restaurants and offices, defined as Scope 1 and 2, 46% below 2019 levels. 

Working with franchisees, suppliers and producers, defined as Scope 3 or its value chain, Yum! will also reduce emissions 46% below 2019 levels during that same timeframe on a per-restaurant basis for franchisees and a per-metric ton basis for beef, poultry, dairy and packaging.

“Climate change is one of the top priorities of our Recipe for Good strategy, and we’re investing significantly in sustainable growth to address this issue by working closely with our brands, franchisees and suppliers,” said David Gibbs, Yum! Brands CEO. “We believe in the collective power of Yum! and our brands to make a positive impact, and that holds true when it comes to creating a healthier future for our customers, communities and the environment.”

Other climate efforts Yum! is undertaking include:
•    Investing in green buildings – Yum! banner KFC continues to invest in its green building strategy and is piloting multiple energy optimization systems across its markets that it will look to scale, including in Malaysia, South Africa, and the U.K. Results include 18% overall energy savings in Malaysia and projected savings of more than 5.4 million kWh over five years in the U.K.

•    Accelerating renewable energy – Yum! will move 1,000 restaurants around the world to renewable energy by the end of 2021, the equivalent of eliminating emissions from 38,000 vehicles. This new commitment builds on existing research and pilot programs conducted in recent years to move more restaurants to renewable energy in markets like KFC Australia. Additionally, Yum! moved its corporate offices in the U.S. to 100% renewable energy in 2020.

•    Collaborating with climate-forward partners – In early 2021, Yum! joined the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), an alliance of large energy buyers, energy providers, and service providers that have joined together to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon energy future.

In addition to publishing annual updates in its Recipe for Good Report, Yum! has participated in comprehensive voluntary disclosure through CDP Climate Change since 2010, most recently scoring an A- on its 2020 submission.

“Our new climate commitments set Yum! on an accelerated path when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint and bringing forward sustainable solutions to address climate change for our global system and the broader restaurant industry,” said Jon Hixson, Yum! global chief sustainability officer and vice president of government affairs. “Our primary focus on this journey is to find innovative and cost-effective measures for restaurants and the supply chain that enable sustainability goals.”

Based in Louisville, Ky., Yum! Brands has over 50,000 restaurants in more than 150 countries and territories, primarily operating the company’s brands – KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and The Habit Burger Grill.