From farm to fork: General Mills' 'ambitious' plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions


General Mills plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent over the next 10 years.

The Golden Valley-based company announced its strategy Monday to reduce emissions across all its operations – "from farm to fork to landfill."

What does that mean exactly? The company is trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions not just in its own facilities, but along every step of the supply chain, the release says – from the farms where it gets its ingredients, to the packaging consumers throw away,

Other companies around the country have announced plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but General Mills officials told The Associated Press it knows of no other major food producers targeting the entire chain.

“While our success depends on our actions, we cannot get there on our own. We believe every company, government and individual has a role to play,” General Mills CEO Ken Powell said in the announcement. “Climate change is a shared, global challenge that is best addressed at scale.”

Since 2005, General Mills says it has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent within its direct operations, and now it hopes to do more, noting that nearly two-thirds of the company's total greenhouse gas emissions come from entities it doesn't control.

"Our biggest greenhouse gas contributing ingredient is dairy, milk," John Church, the company's senior vice president of global supply chain, told MPR News. "In that supply chain, it's because the cows themselves create methane in their digestive process."

General Mills plans to partner with its suppliers to help move them to more sustainable agriculture practices, which includes sourcing from an additional 250,000 organic acres globally by 2025, the company's climate plan notes.

The company will also invest more than $100 million in energy efficiency and clean energy; use packaging that will help consumers reduce their carbon footprint; and support climate resiliency of farmers in its supply chain, the announcement says.

General Mills' long-term goals is to achieve sustainable emission levels in line with scientific consensus by 2050, the company's website says.

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