2016 Global Responsibility Report
Every year, I have the pleasure of sharing our Global Responsibility Report with our stakeholders, employees and communities. This is the 46th year General Mills has done so and it coincides with our 150th Anniversary.
Our 2016 Global Responsibility Report highlights four key focus areas: Health & Wellness, Sustainability, Workplace and Community, each of which presents unique challenges, opportunities and goals for our business.
I’ve shared key highlights below and, for those short on time, I’ve also included a video overview.
For more context on our 2016 report, you also can listen to this interview with Catherine Gunsbury, director of Sustainability and Transparency at General Mills.
Health & Wellness
We continue to look for ways to improve the health profile of our food. In 2010, we accelerated our sodium reduction efforts by pledging to reduce sodium 20 percent in 10 key U.S. retail product categories by 2015. By the end of 2015, we met or exceeded our goal in seven out of 10 categories and made significant progress in the other three.
Another sizable undertaking on the Health & Wellness front was the revision of our Yoplait Original yogurt.
Consumers wanted change and we listened by creating a recipe with:
- Less sugar: We reduced sugar by 25 percent in each serving, decreasing the amount of sugar from 26 grams to 18 grams
- Fewer calories: As we reduced sugar, we also reduced calories from 170 to 150 per serving
- More protein: We increased protein in a 6-ounce cup from 5 to 6 grams
We also committed to removing artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources from General Mills cereals.
Today, 77 percent of U.S. Big G cereals are free from artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources and our goal is for all remaining cereals to be completed by the end of 2017.
We made significant progress in several key areas of global responsibility in 2015, including human rights, climate change, water stewardship and animal welfare.
As our business grows, so too does the complexity of our supply chain, and in effect our increasing responsibility and commitment to being a good, global corporate citizen. We continued to make positive strides in 2015 with our Policy on Human Rights, our updated Supplier Code of Conduct and by signing the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles.
We took concrete steps to protect our planet by making a commitment to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our value chain by 28 percent by 2025. Our long-term aspiration is to achieve sustainable emission levels in line with scientific consensus by 2050.
In 2015, we made significant updates to our Animal Welfare Policy which now includes the “five freedoms” beyond dairy cows to all animals in our supply chain. Sourcing of free-range eggs for all Haagen-Dazs ice cream in Europe is a critical building block for us and now we are working toward procuring 100 percent cage-free eggs for our U.S. operations by 2025.
Throughout our 150-year history, General Mills has taken great pride in being an employer of choice.
In 2015, our company was recognized with numerous industry and business awards including:
-100 Best Companies to Work For, Fortune Magazine
-50 Out Front: Best Places for Women and Diverse Managers to Work, Diversity MBA
-DiversityINC Top 50 Companies for Diversity List, No. 19
-Corporate Responsibility Magazine “Best Corporate Citizens” List, No. 39
-100 Best Companies, Working Mother Magazine, Top 10
-Newsweek Green Rankings, No. 48
Our giving and volunteerism efforts are focused on increasing food and nutrition security, advancing agricultural and environmental sustainability, and strengthening our hometown communities.
In fiscal 2015, General Mills donated more than $154 million to key initiatives that support communities around the globe, and we donated more than 23 million pounds of food to Feeding America’s 200 food banks across the U.S.
Some of the most notable highlights of 2015 include:
- 20 million meals made possible through General Mills global food donations
- $500,000 contributed to The Nature Conservancy in support of the global water risk assessment project
- Charitable investments in conservation and sustainability increased by 83 percent versus prior year
- Training and technical support provided through Partners in Food Solutions to more than 620 small and growing food businesses in six African countries
We’re excited about what we’ve accomplished in 2015 and know there is still more to be done.
When it comes to serving the world, we use our scale for good and believe that bigger can mean better. And when we create economic, social and environmental value, we improve our business and the planet.
Editor’s note: The full 2016 Global Responsibility Report can be found at GeneralMills.com. We always welcome feedback on our global responsibility efforts and look forward to reviewing any thoughts you’d like to share with us.
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