General Mills has released its 2021 Global Responsibility Report, which highlights social and environmental progress made in the 2020 fiscal year, ending May 31, 2020. The annual update, which marks 51 years of reporting for the company, features actions and outcomes across four areas: Food, Planet, People and Community.
“Everything we do at General Mills connects back to our purpose of making food the world loves,” said Jeff Harmening, chairman and CEO, General Mills. “The events of this past year – COVID-19 and the racial injustice and social equity movements – reaffirmed our belief that our scale brings opportunity and responsibility. We can and are doing good things that impact our people, our planet and the communities we serve.”
In 2020, General Mills continued to make food with passion for families around the world, achieved sustainably sourcing 100 percent of its top ten priority ingredients, advanced regenerative agriculture practices on farmland, reduced its greenhouse gas emissions footprint, enabled 7 billion meals around the world through philanthropic partners and food donations during a heightened time of need, and deepened inclusion and diversity commitments inside-and-outside the company’s walls.
“Our business is rooted in the earth and in order to make food for future generations, we believe we can no longer simply sustain earth’s resources, we need to regenerate them,” said Mary Jane Melendez, chief sustainability and social impact officer, General Mills. “In the past year, we accelerated farmer adoption of regenerative agriculture practices on more than 70,000 acres in key regions where we source ingredients – getting us closer to our 1 million acres commitment by 2030 – and measured positive environmental, social and economic outcomes.”
Food: Making food the world loves (and needs)
As the COVID-19 pandemic increased food insecurity around the world and at-home food demand elevated, General Mills’ purpose, in effect, expanded to ‘making food the world loves… (and needs).’ The company innovated within its food portfolio to delight consumers and meet their diverse interests and needs – representing nutrition-forward options, affordability and accessibility. Progress includes:
- General Mills is now the largest provider of natural and organic packaged food in the U.S.
- The company led with safety – both in the workplace and food production. Ninety-six percent of the company’s production facilities are Global Food Safety Initiative certified.
- Forty-three percent of General Mills’ global volume met the company’s nutrition-forward foods criteria.
Planet: Regenerating our planet and supporting farmers
Regenerating the earth’s natural resources is both a business and environmental imperative for General Mills. In 2020, the company enhanced its existing commitments with a set of 2030 ambitions to promote regeneration. Progress includes:
- 100 percent of General Mills’ 10 priority ingredients are now sustainably sourced.
- 70,000 acres are enrolled in the company’s regenerative agriculture pilots, with a commitment to advance regenerative agriculture on one million acres by 2030.
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions across the company’s value chain by 16 percent compared to 2010, with a commitment to reduce by 30 percent by 2030 and net zero by 2050.
- Eighty-eight percent of U.S. and 72 percent of Europe and Australia packaging is now recyclable, with a commitment to have all brands design 100 percent of packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2030.
People: Building an inclusive and diverse culture that puts people and communities first
General Mills creates a seat at the table for all employees by fostering a safe, inclusive and rewarding workplace, and seeks to make a positive impact with its people and its communities. Progress includes:
- Eighty-six percent of General Mills employees say that the company is a great place to work, up six percent from 2019.
- Fifty percent of professional positions and 32 percent of company officer positions are held by women globally.
- Accelerated action to respect human rights impacts in alignment with the United Nations Guiding Principles.
- In the U.S., General Mills committed to doubling the representation of Black managers, increasing minority representation to 25 percent and doubling its spend with minority-owned suppliers.
Community: Improving food security in a time of great need
General Mills and its Foundation are deeply committed to serving its global communities, and remain anchored in advancing equity to build strong, resilient and food-secure communities. Progress includes:
- General Mills launched a manufacture-to-donate initiative to make food and distribute it, giving charities greater access to food in a heightened time of need.
- Enabled 7 billion meals around the world through philanthropic partners and food donations.
- With General Mills’ support, more than 610,000 children worldwide had access to daily nourishing school meals.
- Eighty-three percent of General Mills employees worldwide volunteered time in their communities.
General Mills’ commitment to reporting global progress in areas of social and environmental importance is unwavering. This past year, General Mills grew more responsive, more aware, and more committed than ever to be there for its people, the planet and communities around the world. In 2021, General Mills will focus on continuing its progress to better our future.