This new target expands a previous goal of reducing emissions 30 percent by 2030, but it also came with an admission that so far America's biggest meatpacker has not been able to encourage as much environmentally-friendly farming practices as it hoped.
In order to reach net-zero by 2050, Tyson wants to increase use of renewable energy at U.S. operations to 50 percent by 2030 and extend an initiative to verify sustainable production practices for cattle and other farming.
The latter has proven to be quite the challenge. Tyson does not own grain farms but its size as the U.S meat industry's biggest buyer of feed corn gives it influence over farming. It has only enrolled just over 400,000 acres of U.S. farmland to participate in a program to improve environmental practices, falling far short of its goals to sign up 2 million acres by 2020. That goal has now been pushed to 2025.
Supply chain disruptions caused by the health crisis made it hard for Tyson to meet sustainability goals last year, the company said in a report.
Meat companies are being forced to reconsider the impact animal farming and slaughter is having on the environment as plant-based meat companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods win over customers with their message that meat-alternatives are easier on the body and safer for the environment.