Commend General Mills on Agricultural Sustainability Efforts

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Target: General Mills Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Jerry Lynch

Goal: Applaud commitment to environmental protection and sustainable farming

General Mills is one of the largest food companies in the world. The manner in which this company is run and the environmental values it promotes sets an example for the rest of the agricultural industry. Since the mid-1900’s, General Mill’s has been vigilant in inventing sustainable crop yielding techniques, reducing the use of pesticides on their products and working to benefit small farmer’s plantations through the Green Giant brand and agricultural team.

General Mill’s agricultural team has been working with many large companies and small farmer’s alike to research and develop earth-friendly farming practices. They have been working in Irapuato, Mexico with local broccoli and cauliflower grower’s with a mission to advance the use of a new drip irrigation technology. This irrigation system has proven to be much more effective at reducing water waste than other conventional irrigation techniques, conserving as much as 50 percent more water and annually totaling up to 1.1 billion gallons of saved water.

The implementation of this technique has become widespread on the local farmer’s acreage that the team is working with thanks to the interest-free loans General Mill’s has provided to buy this equipment. Crop output has increased while the harmful use of pesticides has been able to be decreased.

This is only one example of the sustainable practices General Mill’s has successfully put in place. In 2009, the company granted the United States Department of Agriculture funding to advance research on oats, a long-overlooked crop that has tremendous health benefits. General Mill’s example led other groups and organizations to invest and brought the amount of funding for pesticide and drought resistant oat research up to a total of about $1.7 million.

The company has also recently set new policies and reduction goals. By 2015, General Mills strives to cut energy usage by 20 percent, water usage by 20 percent and solid waste by a large 50 percent. The company has already come a long way though. From 2005 to 2010, General Mills reduced their greenhouse emissions by 8 percent and solid waste generation by 33 percent.

Jerry Lynch says it best when he states, “We are on a journey to stand among the most socially responsible consumer food companies in the world… we have a lot of work ahead. But by setting aggressive goals…we are putting in place a road map to the future.”  Commend General Mills on their commitment to provide more sustainable products and encourage fellow farmers and companies to do the same.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Jerry Lynch,

I would like to commend you and your company on your efforts to keep General Mills a distributor of sustainable products and an outstanding example for other food companies around the world. By working to develop new, more eco-friendly farming techniques in small towns around the world, as well as coming up with crops that are better irrigated and drought resistant, this company has pushed the boundaries of the agricultural industry toward a better future. The General Mills agriculture team’s work in Irapuato, Mexico with local farmers has been successful in educating them on the importance of sustainable farming practices, leading to a large reduction of water waste.

Working with these farmers is not the only way this company has been promoting a greener agricultural industry. Over the past few decades, General Mills has been striving to create and adhere their companies practices to a set of goals, each developed to improve the impact their production has on the environment.

From 2005 to 2010, General Mills reduced greenhouse emissions by 8 percent and total solid waste production by an even larger 33 percent. Since then, this company has come up with even more ways to regulate their resource usage and ensure that they spread awareness of the importance of growing products that will benefit not only the distributors, but also the crop farmers and the consumers. Thank you for your effort in continuing to improve agronomic practices and minimize this company’s effect on the environment it relies upon.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: ecstaticist via Flickr

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