Today General Mills published its 2015 Global Responsibility Report, marking the 45th year we have reported progress to our communities and stakeholders. The report highlights our efforts to create economic, social and environmental value across the globe as we pursue our mission of Nourishing Lives.
What’s new in 2015? A robust discussion about material topics related to our business and our social and environmental impact. Our aim is to communicate transparently about material topics, where they occur in our business and how we are approaching them.
We report on five key areas: Health and Wellness, Sourcing, Environment, Workplace and Community. Within each of these, we discuss our goals, strategies and performance and address both progress as well as challenges.
Here are a few key highlights from our 2015 Global Responsibility Report.
We’re bringing scale to the natural and organic food segment.
Consumer in natural and organic offerings has grown, and we’ve responded by steadily expanding the natural and organic offerings in our product portfolio and providing more choices for consumers. With the addition of Annie’s in 2014, General Mills is now the fourth-largest U.S. natural and organic food producer and is the second largest buyer of organic fruits and vegetables in the North American packaged foods sector.
We’re making progress on our sustainable sourcing commitment.
In 2014, we made progress on our commitment to sustainably source 100 percent of our 10 priority ingredients by 2020. We are working with smallholder farmers in developing economies and large-scale growers in developed economies to strengthen sustainable agriculture practices.
Through our focus on sustainable sourcing, we are tackling the areas of greatest environmental and social impact in our supply chain.
We’re closing in on our FY2015 Environmental Goals
Across our global operations, we continue to work toward our fiscal 2015 goals of achieving significant, measurable reductions in our environmental footprint. In fiscal 2014, we made solid progress against our targets related to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, solid waste and packaging.
Our sustainability initiatives help us to reduce our environmental footprint as well as create business value for the company. Leveraging Continuous Improvement (CI) and Holistic Margin Management (HMM) initiatives, General Mills’ companywide target is to accrue US$4 billion in HMM savings between fiscal 2010 and 2020, including both environmental and non-environmental initiatives. To date, sustainability initiatives have contributed substantially to our progress. In fact, since fiscal 2005, our North American operations have saved approximately US$65 million through proactive environmental management and other initiatives that make our production facilities more efficient and environmentally sustainable.
Later this year, we will report out on our FY2015 goals and announce a new set of long-term goals.
We’re helping to strengthen food supply chains and empower women and girls in the developing world.
Partners in Food Solutions (PFS), a nonprofit organization founded by General Mills in 2008, marked a major milestone this year: For the first time ever, local producers in Ethiopia will begin fortifying wheat flour with the vitamins and minerals children need to develop and adults need to thrive. This achievement was made possible by linking ASTCO, one of Ethiopia’s largest flour mills, with technical and business expertise of volunteer employees from General Mills, Cargill, Royal DSM and Bühler to develop the technology and processes needed to fortify flour effectively and safely.
PFS volunteers have worked with more than 600 African food companies over the last six years to improve food safety, packaging, processes, marketing and more to help them strengthen their businesses. We firmly believe this model will provide a sustainable route to affordable, nutritious, safe food and increase or sustain markets for the crops of smallholder farmers in in sub-Saharan Africa.
In addition, General Mills’ Join My Village celebrated its five-year anniversary in 2014. In partnership with the humanitarian organization CARE USA, Join My Village works to improve the lives of women and girls in some of the poorest communities in the world by leveraging the collective power of individuals through social media.
Since its inception, Join My Village has touched five million lives in Africa and India. The program has granted thousands of educational scholarships to help girls in Malawi and India gain a secondary school education; built dozens of homes to bring teachers to remote villages; provided textbooks and learning materials for tens of thousands of students; built libraries in Malawi and India; and established 650 village-based savings programs that are improving livelihoods and lives for 15,000 people.
We’re proud of the progress we’ve made and are committed to doing more.
To learn more about General Mills global responsibility efforts or to explore the 2015 Global Responsibility Report in more detail, visit www.generalmills.com/Responsibility.