General Mills unveils 2015 sustainability goals, reports progress on 2010 goals

RP news wires

From harnessing wind power in Spain to reducing water usage in Georgia, General Mills detailed its progress in four environmental sustainability areas on November 12, and announced new environmental sustainability goals for 2015.

“Preserving and protecting the environment for generations to come is an important aspect of General Mills’ mission of Nourishing Lives,” said Jerry Lynch, chief sustainability officer for General Mills. “We’re proud of the progress we’re making, and we are setting more aggressive goals for even greater progress in the next five years.”

Global environmental sustainability goals for 2015
The company’s new, expanded environmental sustainability goals include the following:

1. Reducing water usage by 20 percent

2. Reducing solid waste generation by 50 percent

3. Reducing energy usage by 20 percent

4. Reducing greenhouse gas emission by 20 percent

The four global environmental sustainability goals measure the company’s global manufacturing operations using rates normalized per metric ton of product. The water usage goal is measured against a 2006 baseline, while the solid waste, energy and greenhouse gas goals are measured against a 2005 baseline.

General Mills has also established a U.S. transportation goal of reducing the amount of fuel used to ship each pound of product by fiscal 2015, using fiscal 2009 as a baseline. Achieving the U.S. transportation goal would reduce the rate of greenhouse gas emissions generated by shipping the company’s products by 35 percent by fiscal 2015.

General Mills also detailed its progress in each category through the end of the company’s 2010 fiscal year. Specifically, the company said it has:

  • Reduced its water usage rate by 9 percent – nearly twice the 5 percent goal set in fiscal 2006;
  • Reduced its solid waste generation rate by 33 percent – more than twice the 15 percent goal set in fiscal year 2005;
  • Reduced its energy consumption rate by 6 percent – short of the company’s 15 percent goal set in fiscal 2005, and;
  • Reduced its greenhouse gas emission rate by 8 percent – about half the company’s 15 percent reduction goal from fiscal 2005.

“Our 2005 goals were aggressive,” said Lynch, “and we did not achieve them all. But our progress has been substantial and we are raising the bar. We are learning and improving our capabilities in this area every day. We want to set goals that will stretch us to do more.”

The company’s continuous improvement initiatives have been especially important in creating even better systems across the company, Lynch explained. “Those efforts have really increased our momentum in just the past two years,” he added. “For example, all of the 6 percent reduction we have achieved in energy consumption came in just the last two years. We are gaining momentum, which in turn encourages us to set more aggressive goals.

“We are on a journey to stand among the most socially responsible consumer food companies in the world,” Lynch concludes. “We have a lot of work ahead. But by setting aggressive goals – and continuing to work to advance our capabilities in this important area – we are putting in place a road map to the future.”

For examples and additional discussion of the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability, download the company’s 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, released earlier this year, at

About General Mills
One of the world's leading food companies, General Mills operates in more than 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Yoplait, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, General Mills had fiscal 2010 global net sales of US$16 billion, including the company’s $1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales.

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