5 Aug 2014

Food giant adopts sustainable sourcing

8:35 pm on 5 August 2014

One of the biggest food and drinks companies in the world has announced it is overhauling its operations as part of a new climate policy which will reduce its environmental and carbon footprint.

General Mills owns such brands as Old El Paso, Betty Crocker, Nature Valley and Haagen Daaz ice-cream and is now committed to sustainably sourcing its 10 priority ingredients by 2020. Those ingredients represent 50 percent of its total purchasing.

The American company and other food giants had been targeted by fair trade organisation Oxfam in its Behind the Brands public campaign calling on food companies to tackle climate change.

Oxfam's New Zealand executive director Rachael Le Mesurier said General Mills' commitment is exciting.

"They have agreed to define and disclose the total supply chain pollution and reduction target by August 2015 and that's not a small thing. They actually have to find out what the level of pollution is happening across their supply chain right now and then look at a target."

In a statement on its website, General Mills said it would also provide sustainable agricultural investments to improve the livelihoods and climate resilience of small farmers who supply it.

Ms Le Mesurier said the company has gone beyond what Oxfam was seeking and it shows what power consumers have.