Ardent Mills is expanding on its sustainability initiatives with the launch of a new corporate social responsibility program and the publication of its fiscal year 2020 CSR report.

Ardent Mills says the report lays the groundwork for sustainable development goals in three key pillars: nutrition, people and sustainability. In addition, the report identifies the company’s goal to have 50% of Ardent Mills’ US electricity usage be powered by renewable sources by 2025.

“I’m proud of the great progress we’ve made growing our social and sustainability efforts,” said Phoenix Dugger, manager of CSR at Ardent Mills. Dugger was named to the newly created post in October 2019. “This newly developed program reflects our holistic commitment to bring positive change to the ingredient industry, while meeting the needs of our customers, consumers, communities and environment in everything we do.”

Through its nutrition pillar, Ardent Mills says it aims to bring to life its vision of being the trusted partner in nurturing its customers, consumers and communities. Included in the pillar are its efforts to raise awareness around food insecurity, donating to local food banks across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and teaching future generations about the world of agriculture.

Since 2015, Ardent Mills has hosted a charity golf tournament and silent auction for the Food Bank of the Rockies. While the tournament was canceled this year due to COVID-19, financial assistance was even more critical since food demand more than doubled, Ardent Mills says. To help tackle the food shortage, Ardent Mills donated $250,000, which provided 1 million meals.

In the people pillar, Ardent Mills said it has set out to work hard to provide tools and resources to people and communities in agri-business. The company says it has made it a priority to leverage its network to provide development and engagement opportunities for the next generation.

Highlights of the people pillar include Ardent Mills’ support of Agriculture Future of America, promotion of the Future Farmers of America, building healthy lifestyles with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, and learning life skills with National Agriculture in the Classroom. 

The third and final pillar of Ardent Mills’ CSR program is sustainability. The company says it seeks to protect the long-term viability of the food system and supply chain, and by focusing on agriculture, transportation and logistics, procurement and operations it hopes to reduce inefficiency, support customer goals, improve sustainability and positively impact the communities where it has operations.

Ardent Mills says its first public renewable energy goal is to make 50% of its US electricity usage powered by renewable sources by 2025. The company says it is working to achieve the goal through a mix of projects, including directly sourcing renewable energy and retaining project-specific renewable energy credits (RECs), engaging in community solar projects, and purchasing replacement RECs to support green claims. Ardent Mills says it is only purchasing RECs to support its 50% goal when necessary.

“As a global leader in the food ingredient industry, we undoubtedly have an important role to play in the food system and supply chain,” says Daniel P. Dye, chief executive officer of Ardent Mills. “We strive to use our global network for good, and we are deeply committed to nourish what’s next by driving positive change in nutrition and sustainability, and supporting those that make our food system possible.”