General Mills announced its commitment to sustainably source 100 percent of its 10 priority ingredients by 2020. These ingredients represent 50 percent of General Mills' total raw material purchases. The commitment builds on the company's sustainability mission to conserve and protect the resources upon which its business depends.
The commitment, part of General Mills' long-term sustainable sourcing strategy, covers a broad range of raw materials including oats, wheat, corn, dairy, fiber packaging, cocoa, vanilla, palm oil, sugar cane and sugar beets.
"General Mills is committed to creating long-term value for our business, and our society," said Ken Powell, chief executive officer of General Mills. "Producing enough food to feed an increasingly hungry world will require not only innovation and dedication, but also careful attention to the impact of agriculture on our environment."
The opportunities for each priority ingredient are unique and geographically specific, which require General Mills to pursue a range of sustainable approaches including certification, verification, continuous improvement, and origin-direct investment.
"As a food company, we know that the vitality of our business depends upon access to high-quality ingredients," said Jerry Lynch, vice president and chief sustainability officer at General Mills. "We also know where we can have the greatest impact from an environmental standpoint. We believe that through sustainable sourcing, we can create the most long-term economic, environmental and social value."
Improving sustainability is a continuing process - one that General Mills does not undertake alone. Nearly two-thirds of General Mills' greenhouse gas emissions and 99 percent of water use occur outside the company's operations, primarily in agriculture. Therefore, the company believes it can have the greatest impact by working with industry partners and non-governmental agencies across the supply chain to identify new solutions.
"By understanding their environmental risks, prioritizing where the company can have the greatest impact and committing to sustainable sourcing, General Mills can have a significant impact," said Dave McLaughlin, vice president of agriculture, World Wildlife Fund (WWF). "The company has an opportunity to take a leading role in the move toward global sustainable agriculture, while addressing critical issues like ecosystem health and water scarcity."
Since 2010, General Mills and WWF have been working together to integrate sustainability into the company's supply chain, conducting a supply risk analysis of the company's agricultural sourcing and water risk assessment.
In addition, General Mills counts among its partners industry groups including Field-to-Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture and Bonsucro as well as non-governmental organizations like The Nature Conservancy and CARE.