Large Corporations Encouraging Sustainability for Entire Supply Chain

Posted by Amy Guinan

Sep 2, 2015 11:30:00 AM


Climate Change Threatens Food Companies

Droughts and increasing temperatures are a serious threat for the agricultural business - and companies such as General Mills are acutely aware of this.  As such, General Mills has set an ambitious goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 28 percent by 2025 — and plans to encourage its entire supply chain to follow suit.

Change Along the Supply Chain

Large corporations, such as General Mills, can exert influence all along the supply chain because of their size and buying power. Many other major global food companies such as Unilever, Mars and Nestle have set greenhouse gas reduction targets for their own operations. Kellogg's has committed to only buying key product ingredients - including corn, wheat, rice, potatoes, beet and cane sugar, cocoa, palm oil, fruits and vanilla - that are responsibly cultivated.

As General Mills CEO Ken Powell sees it, food companies have no choice but to take action in the face of climate change. It's a matter of business.

Internal and External Sustainability

Internally, General Mills, and other large corporations are enacting the following sustainability measures:

  • Better energy efficiency within manufacturing plants
  • Switching to more energy efficient vehicles and smarter logistics
  • Packaging that uses less cardboard and plastic

General Mills estimates that 92 percent of its greenhouse gases come from entities along its supply chain. External sustainability measures can include:

  • Partnering with suppliers to encourage sustainable agricultural practices
  • Expanding organic acreage and promoting agricultural innovations 
  • Better dietary and manure management practices in the dairy industry 
And while corporations know that it is a business necessity to enact safegaurds against climate change, industry research is showing that sustainability and the safety of the food supply are increasingly on consumers’ minds, and that they want to see action.


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