General Mills falls short of energy goals, sets packaging targets

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cent Greenhouse gas

Breakfast cereal manufacturer, General Mills, admits it fell far short of goals for 2010 in terms of reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) but has flagged up a packaging commitment.

The food giant, in its latest corporate responsibility report, had set a target of cutting energy consumption and GHGs 15 per cent by 2010, but only achieved 6 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.

“We fell short, in part, because consumer demand has grown for more products – such as cereal and granola bars – that require cooking or toasting (which requires more energy),”​ commented the company.

The manufacturer did exceed targets in other areas, with a reduction of solid waste generation by 33 per cent between 2006 and 2010, out performing a 15 per cent reduction goal. Over the same time period, General Mills cut water usage by 9 per cent, surpassing its 5 per cent target.

The company said that its plants manufacturing Big G cereals – its largest business in the US – reduced their energy consumption rate by 14 per cent, while also achieving a reduction in water usage rate by 25 per cent.

Installing energy meters on several pieces of equipment at one plant led “to annual savings of more than US$600,000.”

“The additional data allowed operators to optimize the production, and plans are in the works to extend more robust energy metering systems at more facilities,”​ said the company in relation to its continuous improvement tool to further its environmental sustainability.

The manufacturer also revealed that it is evaluating efficiency gains around the installation of solar panels and the construction of a first biomass burner.

Meanwhile, the cereal maker said it plans to improve the packaging of 40 per cent of its global product volume by 2015 through actions such as increased recycled content, reduced packaging weight, switching to more renewable content, or boosting truck-loading efficiency.

And the company revealed it is now looking to 2015 targets, aiming to achieve a 20 per cent reduction for energy consumption, 20 per cent for GHGs, 20 per cent for water usage, 50 per cent for solid waste and 35 per cent for transportation fuel.

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