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PepsiCo, Walmart and Nestlé in further regenerative farming push

PepsiCo and Walmart have announced a 7-year collaboration to pursue $120m (£94m) worth of investments focused on supporting US and Canadian farmers in their pursuit to improve soil health and water quality.

The collaboration between manufacturer and retailer will aim to accelerate the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices on more than 2 million acres of farmland. This will also deliver approximately 4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emission reductions and removals by 2030, according to a joint statement released by the companies.

A shift to regenerative agriculture underpins the net-zero plans of many major food and beverage businesses. The concept lacks a definition but is designed to deliver a number of outcomes that are generally agreed to be intrinsic to the future sustainability of the food system.

Nestlé is investing CHF1.2 billion (£1 billion) in regenerative agriculture across its supply chain and is committed to sourcing 20% of key ingredients from regenerative agriculture methods by 2025 and 50% by 2030. The manufacturer this week also announced a new initiative in the US where it will offer technical and financial support to wheat farmers employing regenerative practices. These include planting cover crops, improving soil health and reducing the use of pesticides. The wheat, covering almost 100,000 acres, will be used for its DiGiorno pizza brand.

Other companies making major commitments and investments include Compass, which says 70% of its top five food categories will be sourced from regenerative agriculture by 2030. First Milk, a dairy cooperative, has committed to paying a premium to farmers who commit to a regenerative farming plan, while brewer Carlsberg Marston’s has committed to sourcing 30% of all agricultural raw materials from regenerative practices by 2030, reaching 100% by 2040.

Despite all this activity just 15% of the world’s croplands are farmed regeneratively at the moment, according to the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Agribusiness Taskforce. This needs to hit 40% by 2030 to achieve international nature and climate commitments.