General Mills makes commitment on climate change

by World Grain Staff
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MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — General Mills has committed to reducing absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 28% across its full value chain over the next 10 years. Long term, the company aims to achieve sustainable emission levels by 2050, which would equal the reduction of 50% to 70% based on scientific consensus outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“For 150 years, General Mills has served the world by making food people love,” said Ken Powell, chairman and chief executive officer of General Mills. “Our aim is to be around for another 150 years. We recognize that we must do our part to protect and conserve natural resources. Our business depends on it and so does the planet.”

Since 2005, General Mills has reduced absolute emissions within its operations by 13% by using energy more efficiently across its facilities and converting to less intensive forms of energy. However, nearly two-thirds of the company’s total greenhouse gas emissions occur outside of its direct operations.

“We know our greatest impact is outside our four walls, particularly in agriculture, ingredients and packaging,” Powell said. “To reduce emission levels, we must work across our value chain with growers, suppliers, customers and industry partners. Together, we will identify new solutions and promote sustainable agriculture practices that drive emission reductions.”

In 2013, the company vowed to sustainably source 100% of the 10 ingredients that represent half of its total raw material purchases. As part of that commitment, General Mills said it has begun working closely with suppliers and farmers to strengthen sustainable farming practices. Areas of focus include greenhouse gas emission reduction, water management and soil quality.

“Our pathways to achieving sustainable emissions will not revolutionize our business,” said Jerry Lynch, vice-president and chief sustainability officer at General Mills. “Rather, it will be an extension of our ongoing efforts to reduce our environmental footprint through continuous improvement sustainable sourcing.”

General Mills has identified four specific actions to achieve its climate commitment by 2025. The company said it will invest $100 million in energy efficiency and clean energy, partner with suppliers to accelerate adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices, create products and packaging with smaller carbon footprints, and support climate resiliency of farmers in its supply chain.

“While our success depends on our actions, we cannot get there on our own,” Powell said. “We believe every company, government and individual has a role to play. Climate change is a shared, global challenge that is best addressed at scale.”

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