Taco Bell, a fast-food brand loved by many, is stepping up its game to reduce its environmental impact. In collaboration with long-time supplier Cargill and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Taco Bell is embarking on a $2 million partnership to conserve natural resources and address the climate impact of one of its top-selling ingredients.
A Bold Move Towards Sustainability
With ambitious plans to operate 10,000 restaurants worldwide, Taco Bell recognizes the need to balance expansion with responsible actions. As part of its parent company Yum! Brands’ overarching goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 50% by 2030, Taco Bell is taking significant strides to improve the environmental effects of its supply chain, particularly when it comes to its beloved ingredients.
Making a Difference in the Supply Chain
Taco Bell’s commitment to shaking up the status quo extends beyond its menu. Through its partnership with NFWF, the brand will support beef producers in adopting regenerative ranching practices. This collaboration aims to conserve grassland ecosystems, enhance river water quality, and promote biodiversity. In total, $4 million in grants will be allocated over the next four years, with $2 million contributed by Cargill and Taco Bell, and an additional $2 million from federal funds.
“We’re all about democratizing access to quality, flavorful meals at an affordable price,” says Missy Schaaphok, Director of Global Nutrition & Sustainability at Taco Bell. “What people don’t directly see on our menu is how we also prioritize sustainability just as much as craveability.”
Protecting Grasslands and Wildlife
While the vast grasslands where beef cattle roam may appear abundant, they are under threat from climate change, invasive species, limited water, and residential development. This partnership aims to conserve and restore tens of thousands of acres, benefiting the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area, from elk to songbirds. These efforts are projected to sequester up to 44,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually by 2030.
Extending the Impact Across Seven States
Organizations supporting ranchers in implementing regenerative agricultural practices across the Intermountain West region can submit applications from May 4 until August 3. Projects are expected to start in 2024, impacting a vast region spanning seven states: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.
A Resilient Ecosystem for All
Through the voluntary adoption of managed grazing practices, both ranchers and wildlife stand to benefit. Jeff Trandahl, the executive director and CEO of NFWF, believes that this partnership will create better habitats for wildlife, increase carbon sequestration, and foster a more resilient ecosystem for people and the species that depend on these rangelands.
“At Cargill, we pride ourselves on connecting our customers to partners such as NFWF that can help drive sustainability efforts starting with nature and the rancher,” says Jeffrey Fitzpatrick, BeefUp Sustainability Program Lead at Cargill. As a trusted supplier, Cargill is committed to encouraging and supporting efforts that promote sustainability throughout the supply chain.
Sustaining America’s Natural Resources
With the food purchased in Yum! Brands’ supply chain contributing to over two-thirds of its emissions, this program plays a crucial role in preserving America’s natural resources while still satisfying the appetites of taco lovers nationwide.
“Collaboration with ranchers and other supply chain partners is needed now more than ever, especially with food and farming being critical avenues for positive climate solutions,” affirms Jon Hixson, Chief Sustainability Officer at Yum! Brands. “We’re proud to partner with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Cargill, organizations that understand our responsibility to both Taco Bell fans and the environment.”
A Commitment to Continuous Improvement
Taco Bell continues to prioritize sustainability through various initiatives. It is a member of the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and is actively working to enhance the sustainability of its packaging suite.
For more information about Taco Bell, visit the Hook’d Up Bar and Grill website.
This article was written for Hook’d Up Bar and Grill.