Our approach


We track our environmental footprint and report progress. And work to reduce our global impact.

Across our global operations, General Mills focuses on reducing our GHG emissions and natural resource consumption. We also advance responsible sourcing practices that respect human rights and protect animal welfare.

This was the final year of performance against our fiscal 2015 targets to reduce our environmental footprint.

We achieved our targets related to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and packaging. We fell short in energy, product transport, water and solid waste.

We remain focused on continuous improvement processes in all of these areas and have established new targets for 2020 and beyond.

Our environmental and safety management system

We use a companywide environmental management system, based on a “plan, do, check, act” approach, to continually improve performance in our operations.

Measurement plays a central role:

  • To pinpoint areas of greatest energy and water usage across our most resource intensive production facilities, we have installed metering devices for specific equipment and processes. This helps us identify energy and water savings opportunities and implement improvements.
  • We track and manage environmental and safety incidents, tasks and performance data using our Global Safety Tracking and Environmental Management System (GSTEMS), a global online information management platform.

At each facility, we use scorecards to document and report progress.

Key business strategies

Each year, we invest millions of dollars in projects that save money by reducing energy and water usage as well as waste generation. 

These efforts support two key business strategies: 

  • The first, Continuous Improvement (CI), focuses on loss elimination. CI encourages employee ownership of company processes – from production facility workers to executive management – to end and prevent waste in every part of the business, an approach that we refer to as “Zero Loss Culture.”
  • The second broad strategy is Holistic Margin Management (HMM), which calls on cross-functional teams to analyze the value drivers for our business and eliminate nonvalue-added costs and activities. 

In addition to improving environmental performance, savings from these initiatives help offset inflation in raw material costs. This approach helps us to maintain consumer prices and to invest in innovation and marketing.

Companywide target: Save $4 billion

Our companywide target – including environmental and non-environmental initiatives – is to accrue US$4 billion in HMM savings between fiscal 2010 and 2020. 

To date, sustainability initiatives have contributed substantially to our progress against this goal.

Since fiscal 2005, our North American operations have saved approximately US$200 million through proactive environmental management and initiatives that make our production facilities more efficient and environmentally sustainable.