General Mills to reduce GHG emissions from agriculture

Food producer General Mills Inc. committed Monday to reducing climate change-causing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its entire supply chain, including the farms that produce its ingredients.

The company behind brands like Cheerios, Betty Crocker and Häagen-Dazs set GHG targets for its own operations in 2005, but Monday’s announcement goes much further. Its latest climate commitment also covers water use and waste.

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“However, given that nearly two-thirds of General Mills’ GHG emissions and 99 percent of water use throughout our value chain occur upstream of our direct operations, primarily in agriculture, we’ve also been focused on advancing sustainable agriculture,” John Church, General Mills’ executive vice president of supply chain operations, said in a blog post.

The company plans to set concrete reduction targets in terms of emissions, water use, waste, packaging and transportation, it said. It will seek to eliminate deforestation for its supplies, improve watersheds and maintain a committee to track its progress.

General Mills also the Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy coalition, a group organized by corporate sustainability organization Ceres that advocates for sustainable policies and business practices.

“General Mills is showing increasing leadership on climate change and we are proud to welcome the company as our newest member of BICEP,” Ceres president Mindy Lubber, said in a statement.

Oxfam America, which pushes for food and beverage companies to make commitments to fight climate change through its Behind the Brands campaign, had gathered more than 230,000 signatures urging action from General Mills.

“Today General Mills has taken a bold step to be an industry leader in addressing the clear and present threat climate change poses to our food system,” Monique van Zijl, director of the campaign, said in a statement.