The cereal giant is more than halfway to its goal of enrolling 1 million acres in its regenerative agriculture plan, according to the latest corporate sustainability report.

General Mills plans to cut dairy emissions 40% by end of decade

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Dive Brief:

  • General Mills plans to reduce dairy emissions by 40% by 2030 through manure managements, rotational grazing and feed optimization and cow health initiatives, the company said in its Climate Transition Action Plan released Thursday.
  • The company said it is over halfway to its goal of 1 million acres enrolled in its regenerative agriculture plan, a goal it set in 2019, with over 500,000 acres as of its 2023 fiscal year.
  • The regenerative agriculture goal is part of the company’s project to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and decrease its carbon footprint by 30% by 2030. The company has decreased its emissions 7% on a 2020 baseline, it said in the report. 

Dive Insight:

As CPGs face increasing pressure from activist groups and shareholders, the maker of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Trix cereals, General Mills aims aims to reduce its carbon footprint by improving its existing operations before the end of the decade.

The company said its sustainability transition will also include shifts in its approach to transportation, energy and packaging. The company said it sources 97% of its electricity from renewable sources, and has a goal to reach 100% by 2030. Its net zero carbon footprint goal also includes cutting out deforestation from its palm, cocoa and fiber supply chains by next year.

The cereal giant’s advancements in its regenerative agriculture strategy come after a significant investment in the method in recent years. Last fall, General Mills announced it is working with Walmart to accelerate the adoption of regenerative agriculture across 600,000 acres of land, funding projects with producers harvesting wheat and other crops in states like Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

In the report, General Mills defined regenerative agriculture as “a holistic, principles-based approach to farming and ranching that seeks to strengthen ecosystems and community resilience” that captures carbon from the atmosphere and sequesters it in soil.

General Mills’ senior leader of global impact initiatives Jay Watson told Food Dive last year the company believes its regenerative agriculture strategy should be determined by the outcomes it is able to produce, and that it has worked with farmers to develop the best techniques to implement into its supply chain.

While many sustainability activists see regenerative agriculture as a worthwhile endeavor for food and beverage companies, some critics are concerned that a lack of cohesion around the practices can lead to muddled results. Still, companies like General Mills believe it is an immediate path toward lowering the carbon footprint of its business within an achievable time frame.

  • Why General Mills is embarking on a farmer-driven regenerative agriculture strategy By Chris Casey • April 21, 2023
  • General Mills and Walmart team up to accelerate regenerative agriculture By Sarah Zimmerman • Oct. 18, 2023
  • Regenerative ag is driving food sustainability promises, but is it greenwashing? By Chris Casey, Shaun Lucas • April 27, 2023

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