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Costco Is Being Pushed to Address This Major Issue

It's not empty shelves or purchase limits. 

Last year was a good year for Costco, as America's largest warehouse chain continued to post gains in spite of shortages and other ongoing pandemic-related problems. Now, Costco is being pushed to address a major issue, but it's not empty shelves or purchase limits.

In an annual investor meeting on Jan. 20, a proposal from shareholders urged Costco to adopt more aggressive measures to cut carbon emissions as studies show climate change picking up the pace.

The proposal specifically pointed to Costco's use of cattle, cocoa, palm oil, pulp/paper, and soy in its products. "These commodities are leading drivers of deforestation, which accounts for over 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions," it read.

Related: 6 Things You'll See at Costco This Year

The shareholders argued that Costco was at risk of falling behind corporate competitors like McDonald's, which is targeting net zero emissions by 2050. As Steven John previously reported for Eat This, Not That!:

"According to the International Energy Agency, humanity needs to reach net zero emissions by the year 2050 to stop average global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, if we want to have a fighting chance to stop climate change from dramatically altering the world as we know it."

While acknowledging the risks associated with climate change, Costco's board of directors ultimately voted against the proposal in part to allow for more time to "determine how we can achieve meaningful and operationally-viable absolute CO2e reductions in our operations and our global value chain." At the same time, the group committed to publicly disclosing reduction targets by year's end.

For its part, McDonald's said it would need 30 years to make this huge change—here's how the company plans to achieve its major climate change goal.

Amanda McDonald
Amanda has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Loyola University Chicago. Read more about Amanda
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