General Mills on Aug. 31 announced a commitment to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent across its full value chain – from farm to fork to landfill – over the next 10 years. The commitment was calculated using science-based methodology to achieve a level of emission reductions that science suggests is necessary to sustain the health of the planet.

General Mills’ long term aspiration is to achieve sustainable emission levels in line with scientific consensus by 2050.  As outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientific consensus suggests a reduction of 50-70 percent in absolute emissions by 2050.  

“For 150 years, General Mills has served the world by making food people love. Our aim is to be around for another 150 years,” said Ken Powell, chairman and CEO of General Mills. “We recognize that we must do our part to protect and conserve natural resources.  Our business depends on it and so does the planet.”

“General Mills’ commitment will support greater ambition and impact across the industry,” said Eric Olson, senior vice president, Advisory Services at Business for Social Responsibility, the leading sustainable business network and consultancy that worked closely with General Mills to develop the company’s new commitment. “By establishing specific, time-bound targets that embrace the full value chain, General Mills is in effect doubling down on their commitment to bring new innovation and partnerships with industry peers, suppliers, farmers, and other stakeholders, which will be critical to the company’s long term success.”

The company’s focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions formally began within its direct operations in 2005. Over the last 10 years, General Mills has reduced absolute emissions within its operations by 13 percent. The company accomplished this by using energy more efficiently across its facilities and by converting to less greenhouse gas-intensive forms of energy.

However, nearly two-thirds of the company’s total greenhouse gas emissions occur upstream of its direct operations.

“We know our greatest impact is outside our four walls – particularly in agriculture, ingredients and packaging. To reduce emission levels, we must work across our value chain with growers, suppliers, customers and industry partners. Together, we will identify new solutions and promote sustainable agriculture practices that drive emission reductions,” added Powell.