Apr 06, 2012 • By

Perspective on CSR: John Machuzick

As president of General Mills Bakeries & Foodservice, John Machuzick works closely with many of our customers. From retailers to restaurants, to convenience stores, vending businesses, bakeries and schools, John knows exactly what those customers need from General Mills.

More and more, he’s hearing about their desire to be more sustainable in their work. So they’re requiring more from us in terms of our sustainable practices in distribution and in the sourcing of the products we provide them.

John has been with General Mills for 34 years, in a variety of roles. So his perspective on corporate social responsibility at General Mills is extremely valuable. We sat down with him to discuss his perspective on CSR as part of our coverage of the release of our 2012 Global Responsibility report.

Why is our Global Responsibility report important to produce?

Machuzick: (Video response)

Our customers are demanding more sustainability among their partners, why is that critical?

Machuzick: Our customers are very involved in the area of corporate social responsibility. They are on the leading edge of the whole CSR evolution in the food industry. Sustainable business practices are something that can set us apart when we can deliver on the goals of our customers, when other people can’t. And, we can leverage that with our customers to gain business and strengthen our relationships.

What are you most proud of, from a CSR standpoint, during your career at General Mills?

Machuzick: From a company standpoint, we’ve made progress beyond saying the right thing and doing the right thing. I think when we put something out there, it’s a real story that has action behind it and we follow through with that action. We didn’t jump out there just to get the accolades. We had a plan to develop our whole approach to CSR in a thoughtful way, and we’re actually delivering on the things we said.

What is our greatest area for improvement in sustainability?

Machuzick: I think packaging remains a big area. We have so many legacies of how we’ve packaged things in the past that still remain, just because that’s the way we did it. I think there’s an opportunity for us to further challenge ourselves on the packaging side because that’s such a big piece of the whole supply chain. Whether it comes from the field to the plant, from the plant to the customer, or from the store to the consumer, there’s still a lot of material in that area that gets used every year.

Editor’s note: This is the second post in a series about our 2012 Global Responsibility report featuring leaders within General Mills. The first post was written by Kim Nelson, senior vice president of External Relations. The third post features Jeff Harmening, president of our Big G cereals division, and the final post is from Catherine Gunsbury, director of corporate social responsibility.