Tate & Lyle’s business is segmented into food and beverage solutions, with ingredients for beverages, dairy and soups, sauces and dressings, and the primary products division, which includes products such as high-fructose corn syrup, industrial starches, acidulants and corn-based co-products for pets, farm animals and fish. The company has four large corn wet mills in the United States (US), two smaller plants in Europe and acidulant plants in the US and Brazil, with an annual processing capacity of 1.5 million acres of corn.
Tate & Lyle ranks 15th in the agricultural products and commodities segment, highlighting that it is in the top grouping of companies, but it is not a leader yet. While the company ranks in the top 5 in environment, due to strong disclosure on its Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and food loss and waste, the company is lagging in the social inclusion measurement area. The company ranks in the middle grouping in this area due to a lack of disclosure on key topics, including that it upholds land rights and monitors the health and safety of vulnerable groups in its supply chain, areas its higher ranking peers have already begun to address. Similarly, the company has room to improve in nutrition, ranking in the top 20 compared to its peers, due to a lack of disclosure on topics such as food safety and promoting the accessibility and affordability of healthy foods.
Tate & Lyle discloses an overview of the stakeholders it has engaged as part of its process for developing a sustainability strategy. This includes details of how the company engages with each stakeholder group and how it integrates the outcomes of this engagement in its wider sustainability strategy. Tate & Lyle’s stakeholder engagement covers sustainability topics across all three benchmark measurement areas, environment, nutrition and social inclusion, and across the company’s value chain.
Availability of healthy foods
Tate & Lyle discloses a target to promote the availability of healthy foods and provides quantitative evidence to support its activities. By 2025, the company aims to remove 9 million tonnes of sugar from people’s diets, equivalent to 36 trillion calories, through its low-/no-calorie sweeteners and fibre products. However, there is a lack of disclosure on a global and a company-wide approach to promoting healthy foods, offering an opportunity for the company going forward.
Sustainable development strategy
While the company has set targets relevant to topics across the benchmark’s three measurement areas, it has an opportunity to disclose a sustainable development strategy, as well as how it identifies and prioritises the topics where it has the most impact and are most relevant to the business.
Governance and accountability for sustainable development
Tate & Lyle discloses that its board has oversight of its sustainability strategy, which includes addressing climate change. The board considers climate-related matters when reviewing and guiding core components of commercial strategy, such as business plans, annual budgets and major capital expenditure. Moreover, the company discloses that strategic and non-financial objectives, including environmental and sustainability goals, make up 20% of the board’s annual bonus. However, the company does not provide evidence that its remuneration policy is linked to sustainability themes covered by all three benchmark measurement areas.
Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions
Tate & Lyle has a target that, by 2030, it will have delivered a 30% absolute reduction in its scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with an interim ambition to achieve a 20% reduction by 2025. The company reports that it has so far achieved a 7% reduction against its 2030 target. However, the target it is not aligned with a 1.5-degree scenario, presenting an opportunity for the company going forward.
Soil health and agrobiodiversity
Tate & Lyle discloses a commitment to support sustainable agriculture practices through its sourcing of agricultural products. This includes a time-bound target to maintain sustainable acreage for around 1.5 million acres of sustainable corn and, using a soil conditioning index tool, collect data that tracks soil health and optimises fertiliser use. However, there is insufficient evidence that the company also expects its suppliers to adopt sustainable practices that improve soil health or increase agrobiodiversity through policies, targets or programmes.
Tate & Lyle discloses that in 2020, it had set a target to reduce water use intensity by 15% by 2030. The company reports that in the latest reporting year, the company reduced water use by 1%. However, the company does not disclose its requirement, commitment or policy document on water withdrawal for its suppliers, presenting an opportunity for the company going forward.
Accessibility and affordability of healthy foods
The company does not disclose a commitment to address food insecurity by improving the accessibility and affordability of healthy and nutritious foods.
While Tate & Lyle discloses compliance with national regulations, and provides evidence of third-party audit programmes, it has an opportunity to strengthen its commitment by disclosing the percentages of its own operations that are certified to a food safety scheme programme recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) or other widely recognised certifications.
Farmer and fisher productivity and resilience
Tate & Lyle discloses programmes to support farmers’ resilience and productivity. These include its sustainable agriculture programme, which improves farmers’ access to technology and increases their understanding of the impact of conservation practices on their crops. Tate & Lyle reports that the programme has supported 1,800 growers over three years. However, there remains an opportunity for the company to disclose the specific impact its support activities have had on farmers.
While Tate & Lyle commits to prohibiting child labour in its own operations, and requires its suppliers to adhere to the same standard, it has an opportunity to disclose a policy requiring its suppliers to have an age-verification system in place.
Tate & Lyle commits to prohibiting forced labour in its own operations and requires its suppliers to adhere to the same standard. It also commits to respecting workers’ right to collective bargaining. However, it has an opportunity to provide a stronger commitment to freedom of association in its own operations and supply chain as well as disclose a commitment that prohibits any form of intimidation of workers seeking to exercise these rights in its supply chain.
Core social indicators
The core social indicators are part of the social inclusion measurement area. These indicators assess societal expectations of business conduct that companies should meet if they aspire to be part of a system transformation that leaves no one behind.
Tate & Lyle commits to respect human rights, provide grievance mechanisms for workers and third parties. The company discloses its policy on respecting human rights of workers, however, there remains an opportunity for the company to strengthen its commitment. In addition, Tate & Lyle does not disclose a robust human rights due diligence process for identifying and assessing human rights risks and impacts in its business, presenting a risk for the company going forward.
Tate & Lyle is committed to upholding health and safety of workers and supporting workforce diversity and policies on gender equality and women’s empowerment. However, it can strengthen its commitments on these topics. For example, the company could provide a public commitment towards women’s empowerment or disclose the number and rate of fatalities and high consequence work related-injuries and number of hours worked. Moreover, no evidence was found in the public domain regarding paying a living wage, respecting working hours and supporting collective bargaining.
Tate & Lyle has commitments related to all key ethical business metrics, notably with strong disclosure on its personal data protection principles. Nonetheless, the company can also increase disclosure regarding responsible tax, anti-bribery and anti-corruption, and responsible lobbying and political engagement. On Tax, this could include the amount of corporate income tax paid for each tax jurisdiction where the company is a resident for tax purposes.