Fresh and organic vegetables at farmers market
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Fresh and organic vegetables at farmers market

Five Corporations Using Their Platform for Food Systems Transformation

In the race against climate change, time is no longer a luxury we possess. In fact, John Foley addressed this in a Ted Talk last summer. Speaking on the need to significantly cut carbon emissions, Foley said, “the longer we wait, the less effective these actions are going to be. They simply have less time to work on the atmosphere.” The urgency of the crisis demands immediate and significant action, with every sector of society, including brands, playing a pivotal role. 

Global brands and corporations, with their immense reach and influence, have a massive opportunity and responsibility to drive meaningful change. As the lens on sustainability focuses, especially with legislation like the European Union implementing new laws and regulations to combat greenwashing, companies are being held accountable to create more credibility to their sustainability commitments and claims. 

In this critical moment, several corporations are stepping up to the plate, making significant contributions to mitigate climate change, particularly within the realm of food systems. Here’s a closer look at five companies leading the charge and using their platforms to mitigate climate change:

1. Patagonia

Patagonia, the renowned outdoor apparel company, has stood out for its holistic approach to sustainability, but especially since 2022 when the company made planet Earth its sole shareholder. While not a corporate giant on the scale of some others on this list, Patagonia serves as the blueprint for many companies when it comes to unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship while producing at scale. This commitment is particularly exemplified through its food division, Patagonia Provisions, which focuses on regenerative agriculture, investing in projects that prioritize soil health, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration. Patagonia’s ethos demonstrates how a for-profit company can make a substantial impact on climate change and sustainability.

2. Unilever

Unilever, a consumer goods giant, has made significant strides towards sustainability, committing to becoming a net-zero emissions company by 2039. With a strong focus on sustainable agriculture, Unilever is investing in regenerative farming practices and supply chain innovations to reduce the environmental footprint of its food products. Unilever Hellmann’s (a former client of Littlefoot!) “Make Taste Not Waste” campaign aims to tackle food waste across the globe, promoting responsible consumption and production. This commitment to food waste reduction has further been supported by their recently announced partnership with the Food Recovery Network to further reduce food waste and support communities in need. Furthermore, Hellmann’s commitment to sustainability was highlighted during the Super Bowl for the fourth consecutive year, showcasing their dedication to raising awareness and driving action towards a more sustainable and resilient future in the food industry. We are so proud of the work we did with the first Super Bowl commercial 4 years ago and every year it is inspiring to see such a massive company setting a high standard for huge sustainability budget allocation and how they are using their global platform.


IKEA, the global furniture and home goods retailer, has made significant strides in sustainability by committing to using renewable and recycled materials, reducing carbon emissions, and promoting circular economy principles. The company has also demonstrated a strong commitment to addressing food waste through philanthropic efforts, investing millions of dollars in food waste reduction initiatives in 2023. According to ReFED, one of IKEA’s philanthropic partners, the furniture giant made significant strides, achieving a 54% reduction in food loss and waste last year. Additionally, IKEA has been actively involved in climate and nature work through partnerships with the World Economic Forum, supporting projects that protect natural ecosystems and promote sustainable development. Seeing IKEA’s reduction ideas come to life as tangible results is a beacon of hope we need in this time crunch.

4. Mars, Inc.Mars, Inc., a global leader in the food industry, is actively investing in climate solutions for a more sustainable food future. The company is leveraging its influence to support farmers in adopting climate-smart practices and reduce the carbon footprint of its supply chain. Mars recently unveiled its innovative open-source action plan—the Mars Net Zero Roadmap—to accelerate action towards achieving Net Zero emissions. The Mars plan includes a new target to cut carbon in half by 2030 across its full value chain – which translates into cutting carbon by 15 million metric tons – the equivalent to taking nearly 3 million cars off American roads and highways. Mars’ climate dollars are contributing to the development of resilient and sustainable food systems worldwide. This year, NUTRO™, a Mars-owned natural pet food brand founded nearly 100 years ago, expanded its partnership with Kiss the Ground, a nonprofit focused on the healthy soil movement. Together, the organizations are producing an educational mini docuseries that highlights stories of regeneration across the country. Mars Food’s Ben’s Original brand has made a commitment to sourcing 100 percent of its rice from farmers working toward more sustainable and climate-smart rice production practices, aimed at reducing GHG emissions, reducing unsustainable water use and increasing profitability for farmers. Mars is also a member of the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP), a global alliance dedicated to helping small farmers grow rice sustainably and increasing their resilience to climate change. Through these initiatives, Mars is demonstrating its commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, setting a high standard for the food industry.

5. Danone

Danone, a global food company, is renowned for its unwavering commitment to social and environmental responsibility. The company has allocated substantial resources to support climate initiatives within the food sector, demonstrating its dedication to sustainability. Danone is actively working towards achieving carbon neutrality across its operations, with a target to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. In addition to its internal efforts, Danone is also focused on promoting sustainable agricultural practices. The company partners with over 5,000 farmers worldwide to ensure responsible sourcing of ingredients, supporting regenerative farming practices and biodiversity conservation. Through these partnerships and investments, Danone is driving positive change in the way we produce and consume food, setting a strong example for the industry as a whole.

Sustainability practices and priorities will vary within industries, and the effectiveness of a company’s sustainability efforts should be evaluated by the consumer. As the quantity of sustainable consumers increases, more consumers are interested in supporting sustainable businesses, researching brands and products before purchasing, looking for specific ESG claims, and supporting environmentally sustainable companies as they feel personally affected by the climate crisis.  

As Foley continues in his talk: “We still have a narrow window of opportunity to stop climate change, but we’ve got to make every day, every move and every dollar count like never before.”