Taco Bell is now partnering with its long-time supplier Cargill and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to implement conservation and regenerative agriculture practices across cattle grazing lands. The company’s newest partnership prioritizes sustainable farming practices for the beef supply chain. As Taco Bell is eager to open more than 10,000 new restaurants in the coming years, its goal also comes with acknowledging responsibility in balancing global expansion with intentional impact.
Yum! Brands’, Taco Bell’s parent company, has been implementing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 50% by 2030. Now, Taco Bell is taking bigger steps to improve the environmental effects of its supply chain, especially for one of its top-selling ingredients. Food purchased through Yum! Brands’ supply chain currently produces more than two-thirds of its emissions. The innovation of the BeefUp program will be valuable in helping to sustain America’s natural resources while still producing the products needed to supply restaurants, the company said.
Implementing Sustainable Beef Supply Chain Practices
The land where beef cattle live on is under threat from climate change, invasive species, limited water, and residential developments. Leveraging the expertise of NFWF, this partnership will support beef producers with technical and financial tools to expand their regenerative ranching practices, from conserving grassland ecosystems to improving river water quality and biodiversity.
The commitment from Cargill and Taco Bell will allocate $2 million and will leverage up to $2 million in federal funds for a combined total of $4 million in new grants over the next four years.
It is estimated that this partnership will conserve and restore tens of thousands of acres and benefit the inhabiting wildlife, all while giving cattle abundant grazing land. These efforts are expected to sequester up to 44,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year in 2030.
“We’re all about democratizing access to quality, flavorful meals at an affordable price,” said Missy Schaaphok, director of Global Nutrition & Sustainability at Taco Bell. “What people don’t see directly on our menu is how we also prioritize sustainability just as much as craveability.”
Regenerative Agriculture Practices
Taco Bell’s newest partner, Cargill, is leading the BeefUp Sustainability Program. The program will impact a vast region stretching from the Colorado Rockies to the Great Basin, including local organizations and communities across portions of seven states: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.
“Through the voluntary implementation of managed grazing practices, benefits to both rancher operations and wildlife are realized,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Taco Bell, in partnership with Cargill, will help organizations working directly with ranchers in the Intermountain West to implement important changes, providing better habitat for wildlife, increasing carbon sequestration, and creating a more resilient ecosystem for people and for the species that depend on these rangelands for their very survival.”
Organizations that support ranchers that practice regenerative agriculture across the Intermountain West are welcome to submit applications starting May 4 until August 3, with projects to start in 2024, according to the program.
Taco Bell continues to prioritize other commitments and collaborative efforts to improve sourcing efforts, including membership in the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and ongoing initiatives to improve the sustainability of its packaging suite.