Advancing respect for human rights
We believe that societies, economies and businesses thrive when human rights are protected and respected and that human rights abuses of any kind are unacceptable. As one of the world’s leading food companies, we have the responsibility to respect human rights throughout our business and value chain. As a force for good, General Mills is accelerating action to respect human rights and positively impact all the people we depend upon – and who depend upon us.
General Mills is committed to respecting the rights of all workers and communities across our value chain. Our goal is to assess and address our human rights impacts in alignment with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Learn more.
To better understand our human rights risks and guide our work, we are following a strategic framework to strengthen our ability to assess, address and prevent potential impacts across our value chain and are taking a thoughtful approach in each step of our journey. Protection of human rights is also embedded as a priority in our Global Responsible Sourcing program.
Building on our company’s ongoing Global Responsible Sourcing risk assessments, in 2020, General Mills partnered with Shift, the leading center of expertise on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, to assess our salient human rights risks. We conducted an initial assessment of human rights-related issues inherent to a complex supply chain like General Mills to identify and prioritize future due diligence on the most salient human rights risks to people throughout our value chain.
As we work on advancing respect for all human rights, we are prioritizing efforts that can reach the most vulnerable people, focusing first on assessing and addressing forced labor and child labor.
General Mills salient human rights issues
Some of the raw materials and ingredients General Mills sources for use in our products are recognized as posing a higher risk of negative human rights impact due to their growing regions and production methods. We are conscious of this impact – especially in relation to cocoa, vanilla, palm oil, seafood and sugarcane – and have put in place a range of due diligence measures, including audits conducted as part of our Global Responsible Sourcing program. We will continue to strengthen our approach to address those risks. Learn more about our work to sustainably source our ten priority ingredients.
Our journey to advance human rights is one of continuous improvement. As we grow and develop our program, we plan to expand our disclosures in line with the UNGP reporting framework. Our focus in the coming year includes:
- Building due diligence capabilities to proactively identify risks where impacts to people are most severe across our value chain
- Integrating human rights considerations into environmental strategies
- Increasing employee awareness of our enhanced human rights strategy
- Integrating expectations into standard business processes
For more information on governance, commitments and policies, stakeholder engagement, grievance mechanisms and due diligence measures in our supply chain, please see our Slavery and human trafficking statement