Minnesota-based Cargill will join other companies such as Smithfield Foods in signing on with the Chicago Climate Exchange. This step means that Cargill will push its U.S.-based operations to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions by 1 percent annually.

If Cargill fails to meet that commitment, it will be obligated to purchase emission credits as part of the CCE trading process. CCE offers companies financial rewards for reducing emissions, as well as penalties for falling short.

"If you've got some price point for carbon, it becomes more real," LaRaye Osborne, Cargill vice president and manager of environment, health and safety, told the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. "People can see the impact of our business decisions."

Source: Cargill, Meatingplace.com