In 2021, General Mills ‘met the moment’ in nourishing people and protecting the planet

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

General Mills believes that doing good and good business go hand-in-hand. Pic: GettyImages/jonya
General Mills believes that doing good and good business go hand-in-hand. Pic: GettyImages/jonya

Related tags General mills Sustainability Corporate social responsibility renewable electricity regenerative agriculture racial inequality food insecurity food banks

The Cheerios, Betty Crocker and Nature Valley brand owner has released its 2022 Global Responsibility Report, highlighting the progress it has made against environmental and social commitments in 2021.

In fiscal 2021, General Mills continued its progress to stand for good, delivering value for people, communities and the planet despite the onslaught of COVID-19 and global supply chain disruptions.

“Since our founding, General Mills has believed doing good and good business should go hand-in-hand,”​ said Jeff Harmening, General Mills’ chairman and CEO.

“These past few years have challenged us to do more, and I’m proud to say that we met the moment.

We have nourished more families, provided extra care for our hometown communities, supported our employees in new ways and advanced our efforts to regenerate our planet. Our scale brings both opportunity and responsibility, and we’re more determined than ever to ensure the ‘G’ in General Mills stands for Good."

The annual update – which marks 52 years of reporting – showcases the company’s actions and outcomes across four priority areas: Planet, People, Community and Food. According to General Mills, its business is dependent on the earth and climate change, coupled with increasing demand, has compelled it to continually re-evaluate how it can increase resiliency.

Regenerating the planet

Last year, General Mills accelerated its farmer-led movement to advance regenerative agriculture, with more than 115,000 acres enrolled onto the programme. The ultimate aim is to have one million acres of land farmed under these practices by 2030.

To date, 89% of its packaging used globally is recyclable or reusable by weight. The commitment is to achieve the 100% status by 2030.

Another goal is to source 100% of renewable electricity by 2030, which in 2021, was progressing successfully, with its global operations sourcing 63% of renewable electricity.

Putting people first

General Mills strives to ensure a seat at the table for all its employees and works on pursuing meaningful change on racial and social injustice.

In 2021, 90% of its employees reported the company is a great place to work, up 4% from 2020.

More than 50% of its professional positions are held by women globally.

The company spent $318m with diverse suppliers in the US, representing minority, women, veteran, disability and LGBTQ+-owned businesses.

Strengthening communities

General Mills is committed to strengthening its hometown communities through increasing food security, charitable giving and employee volunteerism and gave $98.3m to charity causes in 2021.

It donated nine billion meals worldwide through philanthropic partners and food donations and supported access to daily school meals for one million children.

More than 80% of its employees worldwide have volunteered time in their communities.

Making food the world loves

General Mills remains the largest provider of natural and organic packaged food, and is now the third largest producer of gluten-free food in the US.

41% of its global portfolio meets its criteria for Nutrition-Forward Foods, with 99% of is cereals providing at least 8g of whole grains.

“General Mills continues to play a leadership role, working from the ground up to solve today’s food and agriculture challenges,” ​said the company’s chief sustainability and global impact officer Mary Jane Melendez.

“We’re investing beyond our supply chain and working in key areas where we source our ingredients to drive meaningful impact.

“We believe regenerative agriculture is the most promising solution to reach our climate goals and create positive planet outcomes, and we’re committed to further advancing this work.”

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