MASTER'S PROJECT: GHG Inventory and Corporate Climate Strategy for Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc.

Start Date: 
Jan 1, 2020
End Date: 
Apr 30, 2021
Summary: 

Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. is in the early stages of developing a new climate change strategy and set of goals, and the student team will support designing the program, conducting a GHG inventory, and identifying opportunities for emissions, especially scope 3 emissions.

Climate change poses a significant risk to agriculture. At the same time, food systems are among the top sources of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. (OSC), which produces cranberry-based foods and beverages, seeks to reduce its carbon footprint. This research aims to enable OSC to understand its current output of Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions, develop ambitious yet appropriate greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, and identify emissions mitigation strategies. We also conducted a preliminary accounting of grower-owner emissions, which are classified as Scope 3 emissions. To achieve these objectives, we conducted a greenhouse gas inventory using 2019 data collected from the manufacturing and receiving facilities, and from cranberry farmers; the data were input and analyzed in Accuvio sustainability reporting software. We also conducted interviews in 2020 with 10 of OSC’s manufacturing facilities. Additionally, we completed a literature review and research to benchmark competitor climate-action commitments and identify sustainable financing strategies. Following our analysis, we had three key findings: The majority of OSC’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions come from purchased electricity and natural gas consumption; manufacturing facilities have notably higher Scope 1 and 2 emissions than receiving facilities; and existing company-wide standards for projects’ returns on investment impede the approval of sustainability projects. These findings led us to target mitigation strategies to reduce use of electricity and natural gas at manufacturing facilities, while underscoring the need to factor in hidden costs associated with carbon emissions when assessing sustainability interventions.