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General Mills GHGs in Ag Supply Chain


Primarily as a result of greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions from human activities, the average global temperature is on track to rise by 3-4°C this century.  At this historically unprecedented threshold, global food production will decline, especially in developing countries that have fewer resources to brace for climate change and are more susceptible to the deforestation, degradation and changes in land use that are associated with global warming. 

Climate change has already had a devastating impact on the livelihoods of small-scale farming communities in developing countries.  Changing rainfall patterns, longer and more severe droughts, floods and rising temperatures all present real challenges to farmers today, making it harder for them to sow, cultivate and harvest crops.  Impoverished regions are struggling with heightened poverty, hunger and violence as a result of the financial strain borne by record extreme weather.

Increasingly, global companies recognize that their suppliers' impacts and sustainability are inextricably intertwined with their own, and that failure to address these issues can create operational and reputational risks. A decline in global food production would increase the cost of commodities vital to General Mills' operations. Consumers are also increasingly interested in purchasing brands with environmentally and socially responsible suppliers.

As one of the world's largest food companies, General Mills through its global suppliers is positioned to be a leader in fostering and encouraging the deceleration of climate change. General Mills also has an opportunity to encourage governments and the wider food industry to do the same.

By preparing an annual report regarding climate change and applying the results, General Mills would strengthen its ability to assess and improve its own and its suppliers' practices with respect to their impact on climate change; enable shareholders to better understand potential reputational and operational risks; and, consistent with the principle that "what gets measured gets managed," prompt more responsible business practices by suppliers.


Shareholders request that the Board of Directors cause General Mills to publish by April 1, 2015, and on an annual basis thereafter, a report focused on the issue of climate change along the company's agricultural supply chain. Among other important disclosures, the report should (i) disclose the company’s sources for palm oil, soy and other commodities with a demonstrated “high climate risk” profile and (ii) disclose GHG emissions by the company and in its agricultural supply chain, to the extent reasonably determinable by the company, and whether the company and its suppliers have adopted quantifiable and sustainable GHG emissions reduction targets and. The report should be publicly released at reasonable cost, omitting proprietary information, and using a phased, tiered, or other approach that the company deems reasonable and practical.


Annual reporting would strengthen General Mills' ability to assess its own and its suppliers' impact on climate change, to hold its suppliers accountable and enhance shareholder value by enabling shareholders to better understand potential reputational and operational risks.