May 12, 2014 • By

White House recognizes General Mills for saving energy

U.S. President Barack Obama honored General Mills and several other companies and organizations May 9 for our commitment to save energy.

From a sustainable Walmart store in Mountain View, California, Obama praised companies such as General Mills that have enlisted in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, a program that encourages its partners to save energy.

Obama touted the more than 190 businesses, including General Mills, for participating in the three-year-old program that has a goal to reduce energy use by 20 percent by 2020.

General Mills is part of a related program known as Better Buildings Better Plants.

“On average, they’re on track to meet their goal – cutting energy use by 2.5 percent every single year,” said Obama. “Together, they’ve already saved $300 million in energy costs.”

Obama spoke at a Walmart store that features solar panels, energy-efficient lighting and other energy-saving measures. The building gets about 15 percent of its power from solar panels.

Walmart solar panels

Photo: Walmart

General Mills has been a longtime partner with Walmart, including our joint announcement last month to double our commitment to sustainable agriculture through the Field to Market organization.

During his speech, President Obama noted that General Mills “is pledging to improve energy efficiency in [its North American] plants.”


Photo: Walmart

Gregg Stedronsky, vice president of Engineering, Global Safety and Environment, represented General Mills and met the president, who thanked our company for efforts to use less energy.

Gregg noted that General Mills has for many years been dedicated to energy savings across our supply chain.

“It’s exciting to stand beside other leading companies that have pledged to partner with the Department of Energy to reduce energy consumption,” says Gregg. “General Mills is widely seen as a company that uses discipline and scientific methods to increase efficiency. This is why we were invited to participate, and this is the type of private-public partnership the White House wants to promote.”

We’ve reduced our energy usage rate by 10 percent (including the Yoplait and Yoki acquisitions) since fiscal 2005 and have trimmed our greenhouse gas emission rate by 20 percent.

A key contributor to those energy savings was a grass-roots effort begun in 2009 at our plant in Covington, Georgia, to install energy meters on several pieces of our cereal-making equipment. Soon, the effort spread to all plants where Big G cereal is made and is now being rolled out at more General Mills plants.

“Through [General Mills’] energy audit program, employees can collect and share sustainability best practices across our locations, such as optimization of dryers, ovens and freezers; building heating and cooling system improvements; and lighting replacement innovations,” notes the Better Buildings Challenge website.